Fall is in full swing and daylight savings time has begun. As the leaves change, so do our clocks and our schedules- this means getting used to driving as it gets darker sooner. This can be unsettling for a lot of people, especially as we get tired sooner as the days get colder and we miss our warm beds more and more. So how can we make driving during these darker days safer? Here are 10 tips to help make driving in the dark less hazardous!
Make sure your lights are working
The FIRST step towards safer nighttime driving would be to brighten it up a bit. This means making sure that your headlights are both working and clean! Not only does this save you from getting pulled over and possibly given a ticket, but it also ensures that you can both see on the roads and be seen by other drivers.
Speaking of being seen by other drivers, it is always handy to tell them where you’re going. Other drivers may not be as vigilant as you, so indicating helps ensure that you have told other drivers to give you enough room and avoid you as you change lanes and take turns.
Clean Your Windshield and Wipers
While making sure to see and be seen, make sure that your view isn’t obscured. A clean windshield protects against blurring from headlights and makes sure that a smudge or streak doesn’t hide larger obstacles in the road. Make sure that you have windshield washing fluid in your car and properly functioning wipers. Lights are brighter in the dark and can blur easily and obstruct your view, so make sure to minimize vision problems when driving.
Make sure to not become a danger to yourself or to others when driving in already hazardous conditions. Drowsy driving is still a form of driving impaired, even without substances in your system. It may be worth having another cup of coffee before leaving the office if you have a long journey home, or simply pulling over for a quick rest if you are driving late at night.
Don’t Be Distracted
Similar to staying alert is staying focused. Distracted driving causes a large number of accidents on the road and this is not new news. Texting, dancing, fidgeting with purses or other items in the car – these are all distractions that need to be avoided while on the road. Not only do they make you a danger to others, but they prevent you from being vigilant of other drivers and their possibly risky behaviors. Focus on the wheel and the road, nothing else.
Driving in the dark most likely means that you have already had a long day, so the desire to get home can become the temptation to drive faster than usual. The thing is that you aren’t the only genius with this idea. Other drivers will be rushing to get to where they’re going as well, meaning that there is a much higher risk of collisions on the road. Driving too fast means you are not giving yourself time to react to other drivers’ movements or braking or having less time to avoid sudden objects or animals in the road. Even though the desire will be strong to get home as fast as possible, don’t drive too quickly. Relax, your destination will still be there if you drive the speed limit and being safe on the road helps make sure that you won’t have to detour to the hospital on the way.
While you’re making sure to not drive wildly in the dark, be on the lookout for people who are. Unfortunately, many people are selfish drivers with little-to-no courtesy on the roads. Keep yourself safe by maintaining at least 3 feet between you and the car in front of you, drive with your lights at the appropriate brightness setting, use your signals and remain vigilant of other vehicles and possible obstacles in the road.
Don’t Drive Impaired
It’s nearly 2022, but unfortunately some people still haven’t gotten the memo- NEVER drive impaired. Whether in the dark or the middle of the bright day, do not put yourself or, horrifically, other people at risk because you are too impatient to sober up before getting behind the wheel of a several-ton murder machine.
Keep Your Car Well Maintained
Although visibility is the major issue with driving in the dark, regular vehicle maintenance and mishaps are problems too. You could hit a pothole you didn’t see and messing up your wheels, or a gas or oil issue could cause you to have to pull over- the possibilities are endless. Make sure to have healthy oil in your vehicle, plenty of gasoline, and properly functioning brakes before driving in the dark. The best way to make sure that you get to your destination in peace is to make sure the vehicle getting you there is actually up for the trip.
Out of Stock is Out of Luck
Keep your car stocked up with essentials in the case of mishaps. If your battery wont start, you need jumper cables. If you get a flat tire, you need a spare and a jack. If you need to pull over in general, you need to put your hazard lights on and have a reflective sign to place several feet away from your car to create a more secure area around your vehicle. It is also a good idea to keep a first aid kit in your vehicle in case of more extreme accidents. Being prepared for unfortunate situations is the difference between them getting better or getting worse!
We hope that these tips serve you well as you drive the roads in the fall and winter. Make sure that you have the proper protection in place so that you are prepared for any situation! Click here to visit our auto insurance page to learn more about your coverage. You can also call or text us at (901)377-7935 or email us at [email protected] to speak with one of our agents about your auto policy today!