Learn effective measures to minimize after-dark dangers when you drive.
Though there is less traffic during night-time hours, nearly half of all fatal traffic collisions occur after dark. Darkness can cause changes in perception and how you see your surroundings. It can also increase the feelings of weariness or fatigue that normally occur when driving long distances.
Most drivers are not aware of the dramatic difference that darkness can have in their ability to cope with routine driving situations, making those drivers more vulnerable to dangerous situations on the road.
Fortunately, you can minimize after-dark dangers by following these guidelines while you drive:
- Keep headlights, tail lights, signal lights and windows (inside and out) clean and free of defects.
- Avoid overdriving your headlights — driving so fast that you’re unable to stop within the distance illuminated by the vehicle’s headlamps.
- Avoid looking directly into oncoming headlights — instead, look to the right edge of the road.
- Do not flash your high beams to alert other drivers — this may create a dangerous glare or distraction for the other driver.
- Keep your eyes moving to help reduce the affects of eye fatigue.
- Keep vehicle lights on from sunset until sunrise; during periods of rain, snow, hail, sleet or fog; and at any time you can’t clearly see the road ahead for a distance of at least 500 feet.
- Keep all vehicle windows and mirrors clean and free of defects.
- Be aware of your level of fatigue—take a break or stop when tired and keep your cab or vehicle well-ventilated and slightly cool to help you stay alert.
- Watch out for impaired drivers who typically make sudden stops and abrupt lane changes and fail to maintain a consistent speed.
- Keep interior lights off and adjust your instrument panel lights as low as possible — without compromising your ability to read the gauges.