Driving in the dark is more dangerous than driving during the daytime. All the hazards of the day still exist, but the cover of darkness adds a layer of risk.
If you drive at night, especially if it is not a common habit, you should take a few precautions to make your drive as safe as possible.
1. Check your lights and signals
Inspect your headlights to make sure they are clean, free from cracks and working correctly. Your headlights not only light the way, but they also make you visible to oncoming drivers. Inspect taillights as well. They alert drivers behind you to your intention to slow or stop. Turn signals should work properly at all times of the day.
2. Look out for animals
Many animal species are more active at night. When you drive along a quiet road at night, you are more likely to encounter an animal on the road. Turn your high beams on to illuminate a larger field of vision to help avoid hitting any animals.
3. Allow extra time
Speeding at night is especially dangerous. It is more difficult to judge the speed of other drivers in the dark when lights are often the only part of the vehicle that is visible. Allow extra time to get to your destination. Use extra caution when moving through intersections. Take a few extra seconds to look for pedestrians at every crosswalk.
4. Avoid sleepy driving
Make sure you are well rested whenever you must drive at night. We associate nighttime with sleep, and it is easy to get tired quicker than usual while driving in the dark. Drink caffeinated beverages or listen to music to help keep you alert. If you do feel drowsy, pull over and rest. Falling asleep at the wheel leads to disastrous results.
While you strive to drive as safely as possible after dark, you should also look out for other drivers on the road who may not have taken the same precautions. A vehicle that seems unsteady may have a drowsy driver. You may encounter vehicles with missing headlights or faulty signals. Give other drivers space and give yourself more time to react to unexpected occurrences.