Summer is arguably the best time of the year, the weather is warm and the days are long. Sadly, it’s quickly passing by and before you know it we’ll be “falling back” to even shorter days. Your now sunny commute home from work will soon be met with complete darkness.
You probably won’t be surprised to find out that driving in the dark is the most dangerous time to be on the road. Some variables that contribute to this danger include lack of light, reduced visibility, rush hour, night blindness and fatigue.
What can you do about reduced visibility?
Driving in the dark isn’t ideal for anyone; it can take hours for your eyes to adjust to low light conditions. Fortunately, there are things you can do to keep you safe behind the wheel:
- Dim your dashboard lights
- Divert your eyes from oncoming traffic
- Get your vision checked annually
- Wear anti-reflective lenses (if you wear glasses)
- Keep exterior car lights clean and bright
- Keep windshield clean
- Replace windshield wipers routinely (they are inexpensive and easy to do yourself)
Also, remember to:
- Watch out for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists
- Obey all road construction requirements (most highway construction takes place at night)
What are the risks of evening rush hour?
Peak evening rush hour (between 4pm to 7pm) is one of the most dangerous times to be on the road, especially in California. Traffic is heavy and not moving, people are anxious to get home and driver distraction is at an all time high. Instead of being enticed to check your phone or give into driver distractions, focus on the following:
- Remain patient and alert (practice deep-breathing techniques or listen to something calming)
- Pay attention to your surroundings
- Stay in your lane and watch out for drivers who drift or jump from lane-to-lane
- Don’t tailgate, maintain a safe distance between you and other vehicles on the road
How can you fight fatigued driving?
When traffic is slow or you’re driving late at night, it can be easy to let your mind wander or become fatigued. A survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that 37 percent of adults have fallen asleep at the wheel, and each year 6,400 death are caused by sleep-deprived drivers. If you’re concerned about fatigued driving, take this advice:
- Get at least seven hours of sleep before hitting the road
- Try to carpool and take turns driving
- Pull over and rest for a while if you get tired
- Take breaks to help divide longer drives
- Listen to something upbeat
Do your part to create a safe driving environment by staying alert and obeying all traffic laws. If you’re concerned about the actions of another driver on the road, do your best to stay as far away from them as possible. If you feel they are a threat to you, others or themselves — call the police and report them immediately.