A little extra caution can go a long way while driving at night
As September ends and we head into October and autumn, the days continue to grow shorter and the nights are becoming longer. Unfortunately, longer nights mean increased danger on the roads.
You might think you drive just as well at night, but consider this: Even though nighttime driving accounts for just 23% of vehicle miles traveled, more than 50% of fatalities for vehicle occupants 16 and older occur between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., according to the National Safety Commission (NSC).
Since our agency wants you and your loved ones to remain safe all year round, we thought it would be helpful to take a look at why night driving is more dangerous, and what you can do to decrease the dangers of after-dark driving.
What’s dangerous about night driving?
- Decreased vision. We won’t go into all the biological details, but different parts of the eye (such as iris, pupil and retina) work differently at night. Your peripheral vision is actually slightly improved, but it’s more difficult to focus on objects ahead of you. And traveling between well-lit areas and darker roads creates issues as well.
- Driving too fast for your headlights. Depending on vehicle speed and headlight setting, many people “over-drive” their headlights. That means, by the time they see something on the road, it’s too late to stop in time to avoid it.
- Impaired judgment. Whether due to drowsiness or the use of alcohol or drugs, it appears that drivers at night often don’t use good judgment. According to the NSC, 66% of fatalities at night involve vehicle occupants who weren’t wearing seat belts.
So what do you do?
Sometimes, there’s no way around driving at night. So here are some tips to help you make a safe trip — whether you’re just running to the store, or you’re headed out for a longer trip.
- Make sure your vehicle’s lights are in good working condition. And not just headlights, but turn signals, taillights, etc.
- Avoid speeding. Leave a bigger cushion between you and other cars than you would during daylight hours. Leave yourself more time for the trip.
- Be more aware of your surroundings. You shouldn’t be using your phone, messing around with the radio or trying to find something on the floor while you’re on the road anyway — and distractions are even more deadly at night.
Of course, if you’re not comfortable driving at night, the best thing is to avoid it altogether if possible. There’s nothing wrong with asking for a ride from a trusted safe driver or waiting for the sun to come out!
We’re open all day! When you’re driving around during the day, stop by RSS for a review of your coverage. We won’t keep you after dark, we promise. Feel free to contact our agency any time. We’re here to help! We can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected-NIGHT or DAY!