A guide on how to drive in dark winter conditions.
Thursday, December 21st marked the first day of winter for us. This day also marks the longest night of the year. While it may not mean much to most people across the nation, the darker nights and mornings mean that many of us will find we’re driving to and from work in the dark.
Night time driving presents its own unique challenges and dangers. With limited visibility and inclement weather, driving in the dark can be difficult for even the most experienced of us. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, vehicular fatalities are three times greater at night during the day. With that in mind, we have compiled a few tips to keep you safe on the winter roads after dark.
Inspect your lights. Correct, working lights are essential. Quite simply, without them, we would be lost. Your headlights, taillights, high beams, and signal lights should be working and clean. Also, ensure that your headlights are correctly aimed (the drivers-side headlight should be pointed slightly lower than the passenger’s side).
Know how to use your headlights properly. Low beams should be used when you’re around other cars, such as encountering oncoming cars and following another vehicle.
Clean your windshield. You will increase your ability to see if you keep your windshield and windows clean at all times. Ensure there are no smears on the window that could distort your vision.
Slow down and leave more distance. Depth perception is impaired at night, making it more difficult to judge other vehicles’ speed and distance. Give yourself plenty of time and space to brake safely.
Use the road as your guide. Watch the right edge of the road and use it as your guide if you find yourself getting blinded by headlights of oncoming cars.
Avoid distractions. Driving at night requires your undivided attention. Eliminate all distractions by putting your phone away, turning the radio off, and keeping conversations light. You are more likely to avoid an after-dark accident if you’re focusing and reacting to the road ahead.