Safety Tip: Night Driving
Photo by Nandaro/Wikimedia Commons.
Here’s advice from the California Department of Motor Vehicles on driving safely at night:
Follow pre-trip procedures. Make sure you’re rested and alert. If you’re drowsy, sleep before you drive. Even a nap can save your life or the lives of others. If you wear eyeglasses, make sure they are clean and unscratched. Don’t wear sunglasses at night. Do a complete vehicle inspection of your vehicle. Check all lights and reflectors, and clean those you can reach.
Use high beams when you can. Some drivers make the mistake of always using low beams. This seriously cuts down on their ability to see ahead. Use high beams when it’s safe and legal to do so. Use them when you are not within 500 feet of an approaching vehicle. Also, don’t let the inside of your cab get too bright. This makes it harder to see outside. Keep the interior light off, and adjust your instrument lights as low as you can to still be able to read the gauges.
Avoid blinding others. Glare from your headlights can cause problems for drivers coming toward you. They can also bother drivers going in the same direction you are, if your lights shine in their rearview mirrors. Dim your lights before they cause glare for other drivers. Dim your lights within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle and when following another vehicle within 500 feet.
Avoid glare from oncoming vehicles. Don’t look directly at lights of oncoming vehicles. Look slightly to the right at a right lane or edge marking, if available. If other drivers don’t put their low beams on, don’t try to “get back at them” by putting your own high beams on. This increases glare for oncoming drivers and increases the chance of an accident.
If you get sleepy, stop at the nearest safe place. People often don’t realize how close they are to falling asleep, even when their eyelids are falling shut. If you can safely do so, look at yourself in a mirror. If you look sleepy, or you just feel sleepy, stop driving. You are in a very dangerous condition. The only safe cure is to sleep.