Night Vision: Safety tips for driving at night
Dec 2, 2021
Anyone who has driven at night knows that dark or poorly lit roads create a unique challenge. In complete darkness, even your high beams will illuminate only 100 to 150 metres ahead, and it takes over 60 metres to stop when travelling at 100 km/hour1. So every driver is at a disadvantage in the dark. What are the steps you can take to make driving at night safer?
Here are our top nighttime driving safety tips:
Try to look bright.
Check with your mechanic to make sure your headlights are aimed correctly and always keep them free of grime and bugs so the beam can project further. Plastic headlight covers on older cars may need to be replaced or polished to restore their clarity. And don’t overlook your taillights. If they are not functioning properly, or are coated in dust or snow, the drivers coming from behind may not see you until it’s too late.
Know when to use your high beams.
Where there are street lights, high beams shouldn’t be necessary and they should never be used if there is a chance of blinding the oncoming traffic. During heavy snowfall, or even torrential rain, your high beams can reflect distracting glare back at you, so low beams or fog lights are a far better choice.
Wear the correct corrective lenses.
Which glasses are best for night driving? If you wear prescription glasses, make sure to get the anti-reflective coating that stops annoying reflections from bouncing around inside the lenses1.
How to avoid glare while driving at night.
Your windscreen may look practically invisible in the sunlight but, after sunset, every smudge and smear creates glare. Microfiber cloths work well to improve the view, but a quick solution is to wipe the inside glass with balled-up newspaper.
Shift your focus.
To help avoid eye fatigue when driving, move your eyes from side to side across your field of vision instead of focusing on one spot. And rather than stare into the blinding lights of oncoming traffic, look slightly up and to the right.
Your rear-view mirror should be switched to its “dim” or “night” setting so the headlights of cars behind you aren’t reflected directly into your eyes. Your side mirrors should be tilted slightly down to avoid the same problem.
Reduce the distraction inside your vehicle.
Dashboard lights and infotainment screens are essential, but don’t let them catch your attention at night. Find out how to dim all the interior lighting so it doesn’t cause distractions or reflections in the cabin. And if using your mobile phone while driving is dangerous during the day (which it is), just imagine how disastrous it could be to glance at that bright screen while driving in the dark.
Stay alert. Stay awake.
How to stay awake while driving at night? Of course, taking a break for a beverage that contains caffeine helps. Listening to talk radio or loud music also work well, as does fresh air blowing on your face. But once your eyes are fatigued and the lids start to droop, it’s time to stop and rest.
Like a deer in the headlights.
Often the retinas of an animal’s eyes shine brightly in the dark and give you a warning to slow down. It’s always better to brake than to swerve when avoiding an animal, as their actions are unpredictable.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration1, three times as many road fatalities occur at night as during daylight. But the reality is, most of us have to drive at night occasionally. So, the darkness shouldn’t be feared, just respected.
By taking a few precautions, you can keep your insurance premiums from being affected by a nighttime driving incident. Visit our car insurance page to learn about safe driving insurance discounts.
Article courtesy of Johnson Inc. (“Johnson”). Johnson is an insurance intermediary specializing in home, auto and travel insurance, as well as group benefits. For more information about Johnson, go to www.johnson.ca (Quebec residents please visit: www.johnson.ca/quebec).
This article is provided for your general information only. Nothing in this article alters the terms or conditions of any insurance policy. Read your policy for a complete description of coverage and contact your insurance provider or intermediary for coverage and policy details.
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