Darkness triggers melatonin production, which tells the body that it’s time to sleep. This causes drowsiness. Furthermore, people aren’t nocturnal creatures by nature and therefore their vision is poorly suited for the dark. These facts mean that the hours after sunset is a dangerous time to drive. While headlights and tail lights make driving possible, they’re a poor substitute for sunlight. Here are five tips for making your night driving a safer experience:
Check Your Lights
Make sure your headlights are properly aimed. Shine your car’s headlights on your garage door and note the beams’ reflections. If they point up, down, or off to the side, have your mechanic adjust them. Replace headlights, tail lights, and brake lights that are burnt out or appear dim. Keep them clean.
Keep Your Windshield and Glasses Clean
Dirt and grime covered glass scatters light. This produces glare when light passes through dirty windshields and glasses. Keep the inside and outside surfaces of both clean. Consider getting an anti-reflective coating on your glasses, which dramatically reduces glare.
Avoid Looking at the Headlights of Oncoming Traffic
The glare of oncoming headlights can cause temporary night blindness. To avoid this, look at the right side of your lane to guide your steering and use your peripheral vision to track oncoming traffic.
Get Plenty of Rest
Get seven or eight hours of sleep the night before a long road trip. Avoid driving at night when you feel physically or mentally exhausted. Therefore, hard manual labor or running a marathon should be avoided before your trip. This is also true for lengthy exams, interviews, and similar experiences that tap out your mental energy.
Drink Coffee When Needed
If you start feeling fatigued during your night drive, get off at an exit and drink a cup of coffee. If you’re at a rest stop, a coffee works especially well after a 20 minute nap. While occasional coffee consumption is effective, don’t rely on it too heavily. Your body will develop a caffeine tolerance that renders it less effective. At some point, even coffee won’t prevent falling asleep at the wheel when your fatigue is sufficiently extreme.
If another’s reckless or negligent driving injured you in an accident, our experienced lawyers can help. Contact us today at Koester & Bradley, LLP.