Driving at night is always a bit difficult, even if you have excellent vision. No matter how attentive a driver you are, you always have to be on the lookout for others: drunk drivers, sleep-deprived humans, and rogue animals, to name a few. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatalities on the road occur at a rate three times greater at night than during the day.
We’ve compiled a list of helpful tips to keep you safer at night:
Clean your windshield and headlights: These two suggestions are pretty obvious. Clean headlights and a clean windshield mean you can see more clearly. Your headlights can get a build-up of yellowish fog or haze around them; you can buy a kit to clean your headlights, or you can try to do it yourself with sandpaper and polish. You’d be amazed at how much completing these two simple steps will make a difference in how you see at night.
Aim your headlights: Even the headlights in your brand new car might not be aimed in the correct direction. Popular Mechanics says that it’s not unusual for a new car’s headlights to be uneven or pointed lower than necessary. The good news is that you can aim them correctly by using the instructions in your owner’s manual. It might take a few tries before you get them aimed correctly—just make sure they won’t blind oncoming traffic.
Adjust your mirrors: Flip your rearview mirror to reduce the glare from the headlights behind you. It’s helpful to adjust the side mirrors as well. If you’re doing a lot of night driving with cars behind you, Life Hacker suggests that you angle your driver side mirror slightly down. You’ll have to lean forward a bit to get a good view when changing lanes, but the car behind you won’t be blinding you as you drive.
Look for eyes: On dark highways, animals can be anywhere. Another tip from Popular Mechanics advises looking for the retinas of animals because chances are, you will see their eyes long before you see their bodies. If you have someone traveling with you, ask them to be on the lookout for animals, too. That way, you have two sets of eyes looking for danger on the road.
Take a break: Direct General agrees with your mom: make frequent stops for breaks and stop driving to rest when you’re too tired to drive. Our instinct is to keep driving so that we can get to our destination quicker. However, if you’re beginning to get tired, it’s best to stop off at a gas station and take a break. If you need to rest, lock your doors, recline your seat, and set a timer.
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