Safety Tips for Driving at Night
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Tips for Driving Safely at Night

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Even though there’s less traffic on the road at night, almost half of all fatal car accidents happen after dark. Headlights aren’t able to illuminate every possible danger, and driving at night presents distinctive hazards, such as diminished night vision and glare from other cars’ headlights. Even if you’re driving with your high beams on, you can only see about 500 feet ahead of you. 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.

Use Your High Beams when Appropriate

A lot of people don’t use their high beams when they drive at night, but this headlight feature can give you twice as much visibility in the dark—an increase from 250 to 500 feet. High beams are especially useful in rural areas and on open roads, but make sure to adjust your headlights back to normal illumination when an oncoming car is within 500 feet so you don’t blind the other driver. 

Dim Your Dashboard Lights 

If the lights on your dashboard are too bright, they create a contrast with the darkness outside that can hinder your night vision. In some cars, the dashboard lights automatically dim at night. If your vehicle doesn’t have this feature, adjust the dashboard settings yourself so your interior lights are dimmed to a safer level of illumination. 

Avoid Looking into Headlights of Oncoming Cars

The bright headlights of an oncoming vehicle can be momentarily blinding when your eyes have become adjusted to your dim dashboard lights and the darkness outside. It’s easy to get distracted when a car is approaching and find yourself staring into the headlights without even realizing you’re doing it. To avoid being temporarily blinded by oncoming headlights, focus your eyes down the road and slightly to the right, and use the lane markings and the right edge of the road to keep your car on course. 

Keep Your Windshield Clean

Even if your windshield looks perfectly clean when you’re driving in daylight, hidden streaks could result in dangerous glare when you drive at night. Oil can easily get transferred from your skin to the glass on the inside of your windshield. Make it a practice to keep a microfiber cloth in your car so you can do a quick wipe of your windshield and get rid of any streaks before you drive in the dark.

Drive at a Safe Speed 

According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), excess speed is a contributing factor in 37 percent of vehicle accidents that happen at night but only 21 percent of daytime accidents. Make sure to adjust your speed to nighttime conditions that cause reduced visibility and slower reaction times. 

Keep an Eye Out for Animals

When you’re driving at night, you have a higher risk of encountering animals such as deer and raccoons. Even if your high beams are on, you may not be able to see an animal that’s off to the side of the road. A good way to spot animals that could run in front of your car at night is to constantly scan the area ahead of you to look for the reflection of your headlights in their eyes. If you encounter a large animal, such as a deer, reduce your speed as quickly as you safely can without veering out of your lane or off the road. 

Taking these extra steps can help you stay safe when you’re driving at night. In the event 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) 404-6311.

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