What Should I Think about When Driving at Night?

The Reader Question

I understand that is generally more dangerous to drive at night, but since it is less traffic it sometimes feels more comfortable. What should I think about when driving at night?

The Answer

The main reasons why driving at night is more dangerous are:

  • reduced visibility
  • fatigue

Always make sure your headlights and windshield are clean.

Don’t drive at night if you feel tired.

High Beams vs. Low Beams

When you drive on dark roads you can only see as far as your headlights reach. This means that your visibility ahead is severely limited at night.

Make sure you use your headlights on high beams. With high beam headlights you should be able to see about 350-400 feet ahead.

Adjust your speed so you don’t overdrive your headlights and can stop within the distance you can see ahead. In most situations, you must drive slower at night.

As soon as you meet oncoming vehicles or approach another vehicle from behind you must dim your lights. Don’t use high beams if traffic is heavy or when driving city streets with streetlights.

Low beams don’t let you see as far as high beams.

Read more: When to use high beam headlights

Drowsy Driving

Driving at night is also more dangerous because you are usually asleep at night. The risk of drowsy driving is increased when you drive at night.

Always make sure you are rested when you get behind the wheel. Don’t start a trip if you are already tired.

Coffee is fine to help you be more alert, but don’t rely on stay-awake pills.

Glare

Glare from oncoming headlights can temporarily blind you, but it also put some additional strain on your eyes, which means you quickly becomes tired when driving at night.

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Photo by Tomas Anunziata.

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