How To Perfectly Drive Safely At Night

If you are a seasoned driver you will agree with me that driving at night is very challenging. Despite the fact that the majority of driving is done during the day, about 40-50% of accidents occur at night. Luckily, there’s no reason that night driving has to be unsafe — with a few simple precautionary measures, you can drive safely, keep your visibility high, and even enjoy the unique experience of an immersive night drive!

1.) When In Doubt, Turn Your Lights On

As night slowly begins to fall over a road or highway, there is almost always an hour or two during which some cars will have their headlights on and others will not. As a general rule, if you notice the day becoming darker (even just slightly), it’s a smart idea to flip your headlights on. Though you may not need your headlights to see the road during these times, other drivers may have an easier time seeing you with your headlights on (especially if the setting sun is behind you, obscuring the view of oncoming traffic).

2.) Slow Down

As a general rule, night driving requires slower speeds than daytime driving. Because visibility is much lower at nighttime than during the day (even on well-lit urban roads), it takes longer to see and react to traffic hazards, pedestrians, and other obstacles. Since you can’t control the types of hazards you’ll encounter on your drive but you can control your driving, your smartest move is simply to drive slower, giving yourself more time to react to any problems you come across. You’ll never want to “out-drive” your headlights — that is, to drive so fast that you can’t stop within the distance illuminated by your headlights in front of you.

3.) Be Wary Of Drunk And Tired Drivers

Statistically, there are almost always more drunk and overtired drivers on the road at night than there are during the day, this can have deadly consequences. Both of these conditions can dramatically lower a driver’s reaction speed and lead to reckless behaviour, so keep an eye out for erratic drivers on the road and give them a wide berth.

4.) Take Frequent Breaks To Fight Fatigue

Just as you’ll want to keep an eye out for other motorists who may be impaired by fatigue, you’ll also want to make sure to keep your own fatigue in check. Being fatigued on the road can have many of the same risks as being drunk, including decreased awareness, slower reaction times, frequent “spacing out,” weaving in and out of the lane, and so on. To fight these problems, be sure to stop frequently, giving yourself a chance to exercise, have some food and/or caffeine, and re-focus before getting back on the road.

5.) Watch For Animals, Especially In Rural Areas

Animals crossing the road can be especially dangerous at night. It can be very difficult to see animals ahead of you on poorly-lit roads when driving at high speeds and crashes involving large animals like Cattles. Stay vigilant when you’re in places where Cattles or other animals are likely to cross the road (like rural areas).

6.) Keep Your Headlights, Mirrors, And Windshield In Top Condition

Your headlights are your most important lifeline when driving at night. If they’re not in good working condition, you’re essentially increasing your risk of an accident for nothing. Keep your headlights clean by washing them every few weeks — this should keep their brightness and clarity high. If a headlight burns out, replace it as soon as you can during the day and avoid driving at night until you can do so. Note that it is often illegal to drive without proper working headlights.

7.) Use Your High-Beams For Low-Light Situations

Your car’s high-beam lights can seriously boost your safety while driving at night, but only if you use them correctly. High-beams should be used when driving in very dark, low-visibility areas where there is not much traffic. In these cases, high-beams can make your field of vision much wider and deeper, so use them as needed.

8.) Deal With Others’ High-Beams By Glancing To The Side Of The Road

In a perfect world, other drivers would always dim their high-beams when they see you, just as you would for them. Unfortunately, drivers don’t always remember to do this. If an oncoming car has its high-beams on, avoid looking at them, as their bright light can momentarily blind you. Instead, glance to the right hand side of your lane while keeping your peripheral vision alert to hazards. This keeps you as alert of the hazards around you as possible while preserving your vision.

Following these basic safety precaution will help you get to your destination safely and enjoy night driving. Hope this comes useful to you. To shop for night safety tools visit our store HERE

About Nonso Okafor

I've worked as a technical support representative in major auto centers in Nigeria for more than twenty years. I have dealt with a variety of problems in my capacity as a customer service representative and auto diagnostics expert. I'm committed to assisting people in properly maintaining their automobiles and in appreciating this magnificent innovation known as an automobile.

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