night driving

NIGHT DRIVING SAFETY TIPS

Driving at night time requires a little more attention than when driving during the day. Driving at night is more hazardous than driving during the day. This is a fact. If you are driving at night it is important to change your driving style to cope with the big change in conditions.

Here is a look at some of the ways I change the way I drive at night and other measures I take to keep safe while on the roads.

BE WARY OF DRIVER FATIGUE

Driver fatigue is a major issue with around 30% of all accidents in Australia involving driver fatigue with the most accidents commonly taking place after 2am until the sun rises. Go without enough sleep and you are as dangerous as a drunken driver. Driving for more than 8 hours and you are going to be extremely tired whether you know it or not. Stop and think about it for a minute. Would you work all day without having a rest?

Driving is a task that will make you tired, even if you don’t realise. I recommend taking breaks every couple of hours whether you think it is necessary or not. It is easy to make mistakes when you are tired and your reaction time slows down.

I suggest never driving more than 10 hours in a day with 3 good breaks. If you want to keep moving for longer than that you will need another driver. Always stop at any sign of fatigue. Every day is a different day. If you didn’t get a good sleep, you are definitely not going to be alert compared with when you have. There is never any point rushing to get somewhere, which is an easy thing to do when we are excited.

Remember the journey is half the fun.

COPING WITH LOW LIGHT LEVELS

Now, this is what makes driving at night more hazardous than driving in the day. There is less light. Just because your car is new, don’t think that the headlights have been set up right. Checking the angle of the headlights is something that you should have checked by a professional as a part of your overall pre-trip vehicle precautions.

Additional vehicle spotlights are a great way to give yourself a boost of light, especially when you are driving long distances and need all the light you can provide yourself. They are so low cost, it doesn’t make sense not to have them.

Another area where lighting is an issue is on the inside of your vehicle. It pays to reduce the amount of light from your dashboard because that light is also going directly into your face. You only need to be able to see your dashboard not read a book with it.

Keeping your windscreen and windows clean is also very important for driving at night. Any muck on your window has a huge negative impact on your visibility. With night driving, it’s all about getting the best and clearest vision possible.

So we have covered the outside of your car, the windows and your dashboard, what’s next? Your eyes. Underlying eye conditions can become an issue when driving at night. I’ve had a vision issue for many years that eye doctors rarely recognise. Even recently I went to have my eyes check and the doctors missed the fact that I have astigmatism in one eye. It is conditions like this that can have a bigger impact at night.

ANIMALS ON THE ROAD

If you are in a regional area, you need to think about animals that could cross the road in front of you. Animals are more active at dusk and dawn. I recommend trying to avoid driving around these times. That can be difficult when you are going on a fishing trip because you need to get up early to get where you are going. Keep the fact that animals are about and watch out for signs on the road letting you know so. The best option is to drive a little slower at dawn and dusk.

Finally, because it is dark, the best thing you can do is reduce your speed. Driving at 80km/h gives much more time to react compared with 100km/h.

 


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Bill Matthews
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Bill is as green friendly as they come. He's travelled the world, loves kayak fishing and camping.