Getting behind the wheel of a car at any point can be a risk. That’s why many people opt to drive at night. After all, fewer people on the road practically guarantees safe travels, right? Well, not necessarily. As the sun goes down, fewer drivers crowd the roads. But according to the National Sleep Foundation, 60% of adult drivers operate a vehicle when they’re tired and 37% (103 million) of drivers have fallen asleep behind the wheel. Another 4% of drivers (over 11 million) admit to either drifting off or being too tired to drive safely. The last thing anyone wants is to trade a safe ride home for a frantic call to their Michigan auto accident attorney. Of course, it’s not always the fault of fatigue. So what are some tips to stay safe and alert while driving at night?
Clean Your Windshield
Your windshields can look fresh and clean during the day when the sun’s beaming down on the glass. But that can change once the sun sets. Suddenly oily streaks and clouds appear affecting visual ability. When mixed with the glare of oncoming traffic, it’s a recipe for disaster. Fortunately, it’s easy to fix. In fact, all you need is a piece of newspaper. A microfiber cloth will do in a pinch. Just be sure not to touch the inside of the windshield with your hands to avoid making things worse.
Use Those Headlights
Most drivers use their brights when night vision is particularly troublesome, but those high beams can temporarily blind other drivers and cause extra problems. When low beams aren’t quite enough, opt for your fog lights. Keep them low, however. As they shine a couple feet above the road, they won’t glare off of any fog or be offensive to oncoming traffic. They also spread wider than typical low beams and create shadows on rocks and pot holes making them look larger than they really are. That extra visual assistance can help you avoid a call to your car accident attorney.
Keep Your Eyes Alert and On the Road
Falling asleep certainly isn’t the only way to lose control of your vehicle, especially at night. In fact, distraction can play a huge part. Even if you’re alone in the car, eating, playing with the radio, working the GPS system, answering a call, or sending a text can end in disaster. Nine people in America are killed daily due to a distracted driver, and most of those involve texting. Taking your eyes off the road for even five seconds at the speed of 55 mph is the equivalent of traveling the length of a football field completely blind. Unless you really want to end your evening in a hospital room or morgue, keep those eyes on the road.
Fight Fatigue the Right Way
If you do start to nod off, try some simple techniques to get the blood pumping and wake up long enough to get to your destination safely. Roll the window down for a blast of cool air. Grab a cup of coffee for an instant kick. Sing in the car even if you can’t carry a tune. Pull over and get out of the car for some light stretching, deep breaths, and even a few jumping jacks. And if none of that works, be honest with yourself and get a hotel room for a few hours of real shut eye. It’ll help you avoid a tragic auto accident, and your loved ones will thank you in the morning.