death rates are three times greater at night than during
the day, yet many of us are unaware of night driving's
special hazards or don't know effective ways to deal with
at night is more of a challenge than many people think.
It's also more dangerous.
is night driving so dangerous? One obvious answer is darkness.
Ninety percent of a driver's reaction depends on vision,
and vision is severely limited at night. Depth perception,
color recognition, peripheral vision are compromised after
drivers have even greater difficulties seeing at night.
A 50-year-old driver may need twice as much light to see
as well as a 30-year old.
factor adding danger to night driving is fatigue. Drowsiness
makes driving more difficult by dulling concentration
and slowing reaction time.
is the single most significant factor in fatal traffic
crashes, playing a part in more than half of all motor
vehicle-related deaths. That makes weekend nights more
dangerous. More fatal crashes take place on Friday and
Saturday nights than at any other time in the week.
you can take several effective measures to minimize these
after-dark dangers by preparing your car and following
special guidelines while you drive:
your car for night driving. Clean headlights, taillights,
signal lights and windows once a week, more often if necessary.
your headlights properly. Misaimed headlights blind other
drivers and reduce your ability to see the road.
drink and drive. Not only does alcohol severely impair
your driving ability, but it also acts as a depressant.
Just one drink can induce fatigue. Also, avoid smoking
when you drive. Smoke's nicotine and carbon monoxide hamper
night vision. If there is any doubt, turn your headlights
on. Lights will not help you see better in early twilight,
but they'll make it easier for other drivers to see you.
Being seen is as important as seeing.
your speed and increase your following distances. It is
more difficult to judge other vehicle's speeds and distances
overdrive your headlights. You should be able to stop
inside the illuminated area. If you're not, you are creating
a blind crash area in front of your vehicle.
following another vehicle, keep your headlights on low
beams so you don't blind the driver ahead of you.
an oncoming vehicle doesn't lower beams from high to low,
avoid glare by watching the right edge of the road and
using it as a steering guide.
frequent stops for light snacks and exercise. If you're
too tired to drive, stop and get rest.
If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.
Warn approaching traffic at once by setting up flares
or reflecting triangles near your vehicle and 300 feet
behind it. Turn on flashers and the dome light. Stay off
the roadway and get passengers away from the area.
night driving safety as soon as the sun goes down. Twilight
is one of the most difficult times to drive, because your
eyes are constantly changing to adapt to the growing darkness.