While there’s 60 percent less traffic on the roads at night, more than 40 percent of fatal crashes occur after dark. Headlights simply can’t do enough to illuminate potential hazards, and nighttime brings unique hazards such as glare and compromised night vision. Even when drivers have their high beams on, visibility is limited to just 500 feet. The experienced agents from Altra Insurance Services, a premier provider of auto, motorcycle, and business insurance San Diego residents rely on for high-quality service, offer these tips to help you stay safe while driving at night.
1. Don’t Look into Oncoming Headlights
Bright oncoming headlights can be blinding because your eyes are used to the dark road and the dim lights on your dashboard. When another car approaches, you may get distracted and stare into the headlights without realizing it. To prevent temporary blindness, look down at the road and to the right. You can use the right edge of the road or the lane markings to stay on track.
2. Use High Beams as Needed
Many people fail to use their high beams at night, but these lights can double visibility at night from 250 to 500 feet. High beams are most helpful on open roads and in rural areas, but you’ll need to dim them when you get within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle to avoid blinding the other driver.
3. Watch for Animals’ Glowing Eyes
Driving at night increases the chance of an encounter with a raccoon, deer, or another animal. Even high beams may not be enough to enable you to spot an animal lurking just off the road. The best way to spot animals that may dart in front of your car at night is looking for the telltale reflection of your headlights in their eyes. You can spot the bright eyes far enough down the road to slow down. If you see a large animal such as a deer, slow down as fast as you safely can without leaving your lane.
4. Dim Your Interior Lights
Some vehicles automatically dim the dashboard lights at night. If your car doesn’t, make sure you change the brightness setting to keep the interior light at a safe low setting. If the dash lights are too bright, the contrast between the brightness inside and darkness outside may worsen your night vision.
5. Maintain a Safe Speed
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding is a factor in 37 percent of nighttime accidents but just 21 percent of accidents during the day. Make sure you adjust your speed to account for reduced visibility and reaction times. For example, even if your headlights can only shine 160 feet in front of you, you’ll still need 190 feet to stop when driving at 40 mph.
6. Wipe Your Windshield
Your windshield may seem clean during the day, but otherwise hidden streaks could cause dangerous glare at night. Many of these streaks may be inside your windshield or on your side mirrors due to oil transferred from your skin to the glass. It’s a good idea to keep a microfiber cloth in your car to wipe down your windshield and remove streaks before driving at night.
Taking these extra steps can help you stay safe when you’re driving at night. If you do have an accident, no matter what time of day, it’s essential to have reliable car insurance. San Diego drivers know they can trust the team from Altra Insurance Services to be there when they need assistance. For a free quote, give us a call today at 619-474-6666.