According to the National Safety Council, the risk of being involved in a fatal car crash is three times higher at night than during the day. This is due to several factors, including fatigue, the glare of headlights and compromised night vision. So how can you help keep yourself, your passengers and your fellow drivers safe at night?
- Review your route before leaving. Especially if you don't know a route very well, take some time to review it on the map so you get a general idea of where you're going. In addition, check the traffic before you leave so you're prepared for any potential delays, roadwork or detours you might encounter.
- Stay awake. One of the most dangerous things that can happen when you're driving at night is that you could fall asleep behind the wheel. To prevent this, bring a passenger along to talk to or, if that's not possible, listen to the radio.
- Take a break if you're too tired. If you really can't keep your eyes open, pull over at the earliest and safest opportunity and close your eyes for a couple of hours. When you're rested again, your vision and reflexes will be much better.
- Dim your dashboard lighting and other interior lights. These can be distracting — plus, they can create reflections on your windshield that can impact your vision.
- Make sure your windshield is clean. Use cleaning solution and microfiber or cotton cloth to clean the outside and inside of your windshield. Also use your windshield wipers to remove any spots that build up while driving.
- Be alert to animals crossing the road. At night, you're much more likely to encounter animals like opossums, raccoons, deer and even moose crossing the road. Their eyes will reflect your headlights and appear as two small bright spots further down the road. Because swerving can cause the animal to follow your headlights, it's best to slow down as much as you can while staying in your lane.
Regardless of how good a driver you are, driving at night can be more hazardous than driving during the daytime. So, avoid driving after dark when possible, and bear these tips in mind for a safer trip. And last but not least, remember to check with your local independent insurance agent for the right auto coverage.