Mastering Night Driving
The sun is setting. You check the distance to your destination; another 4 hours away. You know you'll be driving in the dark, but you have to make it there before morning so you decide to go for it and conquer the art of night driving.
Although referring to it as an art is somewhat extra, driving at night can be more difficult and more dangerous than driving in the day time. Here are some tips and tricks for a more smoother trip in the dark.
DON'T DRIVE WHILE SLEEPY
Tired driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving so if you're feeling your eyes closing and you feel yourself drifting to sleep while on the road, make sure to pull over if even for a short nap. A quick 20 nap can get your energy flowing again and help you through the last stretch of driving. Once the sun goes to sleep, it seems like our bodies want to do the same so making sure you're able to stay awake during a night trip by getting enough sleep before hand and staying properly hydrated and nourished, is most important.
AVOID BLINDING HEADLIGHTS
Darkness means having to use our headlights and some vehicles, especially ones who travel through grueling conditions have lights that are too bright for our delicate pupils. Staring into a bright headlight as it passes in the opposing lane can lead to temporary blindness and will impart your vision on the road. If you see a bright headlight coming, turn your gaze down and to the right focusing on the edge of the road until the lights pass. Be aware of the cars in front of you in case they are blinded by the lights. Everybody will react different to being blinded for a couple seconds so plan accordingly.
TAP YOUR BREAKS WHEN STOPPING
The main issue faced when driving at night is not being able to see in the dark. Tapping on your breaks when coming to a stop will cause them to flash making the driver behind you more alert. This is especially important if you're coming to something of an abrupt stop because it alerts drivers who may not be paying attention. Avoiding accidents and keeping others and yourself safe should be your ultimate goal.
MAINTAIN A SAFE DISTANCE AND BE ALERT
Since it is more difficult to see at night, it's important to keep a safe following distance from the car in front of you. Your following distance should just about be double at night versus during the day. Make sure to check your mirrors on a regular basis (which you should be doing anyway) and stay away from tailgaters and unsafe drivers.
Driving at night can be a treat since it often involves less traffic, but difficult visibility definitely makes it tougher and more unsafe. If you must drive in the dark, make sure to educate yourself, be prepared, and exercise the right precautions so your trip can be accident and stress free.