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Why Should You Drive Slower at Night?
Driving at Night Can Be Dangerous!
So, why should you drive slower at night? When driving at night, the period of hours you have to respond rises; it’s impossible to predict when some animal or other thing may appear in the center of the road. In addition, excessive speeds shorten your response time and need a longer stopping distance.
It’s also worth bearing in mind as animals are likely to be more energetic. Raccoons and opossums are known to wander out at night, although deer are more active during the evening. So your capacity to see and respond to them improves when you slow down.
It’s also crucial to consider the meteorological conditions. For example, the roadways may become slick if there is frost or rain on the streets and the temperature lowers throughout the night. Bridges and flyovers exposed to cold weather will be the first to ice. Also, you might slip off the roadside if you drive too quickly.
Why is Nighttime Driving More Difficult?
At night, the road has an entirely different appearance than it does during the day. The dark illumination makes it extra tough to see, but the car headlight beam may momentarily blind the driver from noticing road curves and risks. Even if you believe you can respond to these scenarios, the rest drivers may not.
As we become older, our night vision deteriorates. Our eyes’ lenses get stiffer and cloudier, and we have fewer rods (light-sensitive cells within our eyelids that discriminate between darkness and light) to identify low-light objects.
Refractive error, for example, can make it harder to detect at night, resulting in vision blind oncoming drivers and intensity perception, as well as exacerbating glare. As a result, driving at night is significantly riskier than driving during daylight hours. As per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, having a fatal accident at night is three times more likely than having one during the day.
At What Speed Should You Drive Slower at Night?
A pedestrian crashed by a car moving at 30 kilometers per hour has a 90% chance of surviving. At 40 kilometers per hour, this drops to 70%, and at 50 kilometers per hour, it’s less than 20%. Drivers may also stop at a shorter distance when driving at lower speeds.
Tips to Drive Slower at Night
It is riskier to drive at night. As per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatal accidents are three times more common at nighttime than throughout the day.
According to Alex Epstein, director of traffic safety at the National Safety Council, the primary reason for this is that humans can’t see as well in the dark: “You see very little of the path beyond of oneself and have less room and time to stop. Surprisingly, certain forms of light, such as glint from too intense lighting, may aggravate the disease. Other factors, too, lead to the complexity of night driving. Here are 12 tips to help you reduce your risk.
- Be Extra Cautious: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the risk of tragic crashes involving alcohol consumption is approximately significantly more incredible at night than throughout the day. Of course, you should never drive after drinking, regardless of the time of day; nonetheless, it’s a good idea to activate your defensive driving reflexes at night.
- Watch Out for Tired Drivers: Drowsy driving accidents are more likely to happen during the times of midnight and 6 a.m., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. So be warned there could be tired drivers falling asleep while on the road during such hours remain vigilant. Grab a cup of coffee, find a safe place to unwind, or halt for the night. Other activities suggested by some drivers include:
- Listening to music.
- Pulling down the windows for fresh air.
- Conversing or singing to oneself.
- Clear Your View: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a broken or dirty windshield can deflect light and intensify glare effects. According to the organization, soiled or damaged headlights can reduce visibility and cause glare for oncoming cars. So clean your headlights and windshields regularly; you may use a headlight cleaning kit.
- Bypass Two-Lane Highway: Because of approaching motorists’ headlights, lower overall lighting, street lights, and the fact that these roads have more sharp bends and slopes in two-lane routes is a dangerous situation for nighttime glare, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Consider taking safer paths at night when possible.
- Driving Slower: speed-related accidents result in 37 % of nighttime driving deaths, according to the NHTSA, compared to 21 percent during daytime hours. Your headlight, for example, beams typically 160 feet next to you, but still, at 40 mph, you’ll require 190 feet to come to a complete stop. According to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, one should accommodate their speed in line with factors such as road visibility.
- Correctly position your headlights: You’ll lose part of the illumination you need when driving if the beams are tilted too far. They can, however, blind approaching cars if they slant too high.
Although some states’ yearly inspection checks involve evaluating the headlight angle, make sure yours are oriented appropriately on your own. “This isn’t typically a do-it-yourself project,” Rader explains. “Consumers should seek assistance from their automobile vendor or a service center.”
- Use High Beams Only Whenever Relevant: According to Rader, high beam headlights are underutilized but may be highly useful in rural locations or wide roadways. Remember to turn lights off if you’re near 500 feet of an approaching vehicle and keep them off if you’re behind another car. In addition, Rader suggests checking for adaptive lighting systems, which automatically change your high lights based on other vehicles’ presence when searching for a new car.
- Adjust Your Interior Lighting: According to the NSC’s Epstein, gazing from the panel to the dark road ahead might be confusing if your dashboard lighting is too brigInstead. He suggests dimming the inner lights at night so that critical controls are visible but not distracting.”At night, utilize your visors to shade yourself from glare from outside street lighting.” Many modern automobiles, he says, feature mirrors that suppress strong light reflections automatically.
- Focus On The Right Side: While drivers should constantly maintain their attention on the road, Epstein recommends avoiding a fixed focus and never staring at oncoming headlights. While passing an oncoming vehicle, take your focus down and to the right to avoid getting dazzled by its headlights. Use the right side of the road or lane signs as a guide to keeping on course. Raise your eyes once you’ve passed the approaching vehicle.
- Keep an Eye Out For Deer: Deer crashes are most common between October and January. Using your high lights, you can view an animal’s sparkling eyes. When you see an accident coming up, the best tactic is to slow down and stop rather than swerve.
- Keep Well With Your Eyes: The National Eye Institute recommends examining your eyesight every year because glare becomes more bothersome as individuals age. At night, you may require a different prescription.
- Check and Utilize All the Vehicle Lights: Lights, including bright lights beam and low beams, during the day car lights, signal lights, and brake lights, regularly. Also, utilize your headlights to keep them visible; not only should you turn them on when it’s night, but you should also turn them on when it’s raining, snowing, or hailing.
Final Words – Why Should You Drive Slower at Night?
At night, driving slowly allows you to be more observant. In addition, because of lower visibility at nighttime, driving a little slow will enable you to respond more quickly to potentially dangerous circumstances. It’s beneficial to drive down a remote road or in rural areas where animals may dart out in front of your car.
Keep an eye on the condition of your headlamps since they can accumulate dirt and crud over time. As a result, they may become hazy and discolored with time. In addition, your headlights’ power may be substantially reduced depending on the intensity of the dirtiness, preventing you from viewing as much further as you usually can. Headlight cleaning kits are available at various parts retailers; remember to keep your lights clear and your vision of the road completely lighted.
Driving a car at night may be extremely dangerous, if not hazardous. However, suppose you follow these guidelines and use defensive driving techniques beneath the wheel. You may considerably lower your chances of getting into a dangerous scenario, so drive safely and slowly.