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Driving at night can be quite risky. The driving conditions of the night are challenging and a large number of accidents take place during the night. Reduced visibility, perception of depth, peripheral vision, colour recognition etc. make it all the more difficult. We also become less alert at night. So, the risk of crashing increases.
To avoid this, extra safety precautions should be followed during the nighttime. A few simple measures can make your driving at night smoother, safer and better. Let's look at these in details.
Turn on the Lights
Since the darkness impairs visibility, it is always wise to turn on the headlights, taillights, brake lights and the indicator lights of your car to ensure that you can see the road and the other vehicles on it properly. This also helps other drivers detect the presence of your vehicle on the road if the road is too dark.
You would need to make sure that both the headlights work properly and are of equal brightness. Ensure that your brake lights work too. You should also keep the lights of your personalised number plate on as well.
Clean the headlights properly before setting out on the drive. Make sure that the lenses of the lights are clean to restore clarity of the lights.
Dim the Interior Lights
A bright interior lighting can adversely affect your vision at night. Stray reflections from interior lights can be quite distracting too. Dim the lights of the dashboard and keep the map lights off if you don't need them. Additional lights may cause glare that will shine right into your eyes making it difficult to see the road.
Interior reading lights that are highly focused come in handy at night since they pinpoint objects without producing any glare.
Clean the Mirrors and Windshield
Apart from the headlights, taillights and turn signals, it is important to clean your car's mirrors, windows and windshields properly. This is because snow or dirt accumulated on the windshield and windows can reduce visibility considerably.
Once you have cleaned them, avoid touching them with your bare hand since it might make the mirrors hazy and cause glare. You can keep a clean cloth in the glove box of your car so that you can clean the mirrors and windows whenever they get hazy.
Since visibility is diminished at night, the time taken to react to hazards on the road is longer than that during the day. Sometimes, you may not even be able to see pedestrians or animals on the road. By the time they come in view, it may get too late. Therefore, the wisest thing to do would be to drive slowly during the night.
If the visibility is very low, you can also go slower than the speed limit to stay safe. Ensure that your speed is slow enough for you to be able to stop within the distance illuminated by your car's headlights.
It goes without saying that you should always be alert while driving. The problem with driving at night is that you might get weary and tired quickly. Fatigue impairing your driving ability can be a major cause of accidents.
If you are sleepy, it is always advisable to pull over, find a rest stop and get some sleep. This can avert major accidents. Try not to drive on an empty stomach. You can also get some caffeine to stay focused. When you head for your night drive, ensure that you are well-rested.
If you are travelling with someone, you can talk to him/her to avoid fatigue. You can also play music to stay awake.
Carry an Emergency Kit
Even though all cars manufactured nowadays are quite reliable and have decreased chances of breaking down, it is always advisable to carry an emergency toolkit with you on your night drives to avoid getting stranded in the middle of the night.
You should carry the essentials like jumper cable, flashlight, water, a first aid kit and so on to ensure that any minor problem regarding your car can be solved.
While driving at night, keep an eye out for any risks that might arise. Follow all traffic rules and block any distraction that may affect your alertness. Avoid overtaking and be extremely careful on the road. It is wise to plan your trip ahead so that you do not get confused about the road to take.
This blog was written by Kent Charlie for Plates4Less