It’s that time of year again when night falls too soon, leaving some of us in the dark on our evening commute. Shorter, cooler days can leave many of us pining for the cozy warmth of our beds. This can make an evening drive seem even more daunting. Depth perception, color recognition and peripheral vision can be compromised in the dark, and the glare of headlights from an oncoming vehicle can temporarily blind a driver.

Here are some safety tips for driving at night.

Combat Driving in Darkness

  1. Aim your headlights correctly, and make sure they are clean
  2. Dim your dashboard
  3. Look away from oncoming lights
  4. Clean your windshield, and remove streaks
  5. Slow down
  6. Wear anti-glare eyeglasses if necessary

Fight Fatigue

A National Sleep Foundation poll says 60% of adults have driven while they were tired, and another 37%, or 103 million people, have fallen asleep at the wheel. Yikes. Drowsy driving puts everyone on the road at risk. Losing two hours of sleep has the same effect on driving as having three beers, and tired drivers are three times more likely to be in a car crash if they are fatigued. 

Here are some tips for fighting fatigue:

  1. Get seven or more hours of sleep every night
  2. Don’t drive if you’ve been awake for 16 or more hours
  3. Stop every two hours to rest if making a long trip
  4. Pull over and take a nap if you feel drowsy
  5. Drive during the times you’re normally awake

Rush Hour

Evening rush hour is a dangerous time to drive due to crowded roadways and drivers eager to get home after work. The darkness of winter rush hour only compounds an already dangerous driving situation.

Here’s how to drive safely during rush hour.

  1. Slow down; don’t be impatient
  2. Stay in your lane and be aware of drivers who switch lanes
  3. Even if you drive the same route every day, stay alert
  4. Don’t touch your phone, eat, or give into other distractions

While we do only one quarter of our driving at night, 50% of traffic deaths happen at night. It doesn’t matter whether the road is familiar or not, driving at night is always more dangerous. Take these tips to heart and make sure you have an appropriate auto insurance policy to protect your good life.