Here in Illinois, fall is in full swing. The leaves are changing colors, football highlights dominate the evening sports broadcast, temperatures are falling and both Cubs and White Sox fans are saying, “Maybe next year.” It’s a beautiful time of year for family gatherings, outdoor events and cozy nights, especially with the sun setting earlier every day.
As the days shorten, though, motorists are also discovering that they have to spend more time driving while it’s dark. And for many folks—young and old—it means added anxiety behind the wheel and an increased probability for accidents. Statistics show that despite 60 percent less traffic on the road roughly half of all fatal car accidents happen at night with a fatality rate per mile of travel about three times higher than during the daytime hours. Some of the reasons for these accidents include decreased visibility and perception, higher numbers of drunk and drowsy drivers on the road, and a greater number of motorists willing to break the speed limit. For one reason or another, drivers are also less likely to wear their safety belts at night, which contributes to the higher fatality rate.
In order to make sure our customers stay safe this fall, we at D&R Autoworks want to share five tips driving in the dark. And, as strong family advocates, we encourage parents to share this information with their teenage drivers in order to keep them safe as well.
1. Obey the Laws – Because driving at night comes with added dangers, it’s important to observe the standard rules of the road including speed limits, the use of turn signals, complete stops and avoiding the temptation to text while driving. Observe the laws and you’ll be more likely to get safely from one place to the next.
2. Aim Your Headlights – While you may not even know they are pointing in the wrong direction, misaimed headlights can decrease your vision and also impair the vision of oncoming drivers. Stop in and see us today if your headlights need to be repositioned.
3. Keep All Windshields Clean – Limiting the glare from street lights, stoplights and oncoming traffic is important to your ability to see the road at night. Keep your windshields clean both inside and outside.
4. Use Your Appropriate Beams – When driving in urban settings, following other vehicles or approaching oncoming traffic, always use your low beams. High beams greatly hinder the ability of other drivers, making them more likely to crash either into you or other objects. Use high beams only when in rural settings and in the presence of no other drivers. Should another motorist fail to dim their beams when coming toward you, avoid looking directly at the lights and, instead, focus on the right side of the road and use it as a guide until they have passed.
5. Don’t Out-Drive Your Lights – Every motorist should be able to stop within the space illuminated by their headlights. By driving any faster, you create a blind crash area in front of your vehicle. Reduce your speed at night and increase your following distances to ensure a proper reaction time.
At D&R Autorworks, we know we serve a mix of customers—some who love driving at night and some who would rather travel during the day. Regardless of your preference, we encourage you to take the proper safety measures when getting behind the wheel after dark. The statistics don’t lie, but you can greatly decrease the probability that you’ll become one of them if you follow the common-sense rules of the road. Prioritize your safety and the safety of other motorists and you’ll be able to better enjoy the ride.