The best part of night travel is that you often have the road all to yourself. There is no traffic to hold you up, and you can drive at your own safe pace. However, night travel can also be dangerous. According to the National Safety Council, traffic deaths are three times more frequent at night than during the day.
If you are not familiar with driving at night, you are more susceptible to feeling drowsy than an experienced night driver. It is extremely easy to fall asleep at the wheel when all you see is a dark road ahead. Low visibility, fog, and exhaustion can make it unsafe for you to travel at night.
This Curated List of Night Travel Tips Will Help You Stay Safe on the Road
Use Your Lights
As you already know, it can be difficult to see at night even if you have excellent vision. Most streets and highways are also well lit, and you might think you don’t need your car lights. On the contrary, your vision gets considerably better on a well-lit road, making your driving better.
Experienced night travelers recommend using fog lights instead of the regular ones because they have more power. In case you forget to switch them on, you can always put them on auto.
While we’re on the subject of lights, you are also well-advised to avoid high beam lights. You might be tempted to switch on your cabin lights, but this might cause your eyes to strain because they create a high contrast to the dark road outside. Straining your eyes can make you tire quickly because you are struggling to adjust.
You should also avoid staring into the lights of oncoming drivers because you can get distracted. High beams are blinding, and you might not see what’s coming. Dim your lights when you see another car approaching, and always keep your eyes on your lane.
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Take Your Car in for Maintenance
There is nothing worse than having car trouble at night. As you plan for night driving, routine car maintenance should be at the top of your checklist. Check your tires, oil, car battery, and any other issues.
If the headlights are misaligned, or the windshield is cracked, make these necessary repairs before you get on the road. Take a quick test drive if you haven’t driven at higher speeds in a long time to ensure you are road-ready. If something doesn’t seem quite right, talk to your mechanic, and let a skilled professional fix any problem for you before you go on your trip.
Auto insurance is something that most people don’t think about often, especially if you know you are a good driver. However, it is wise to regularly review your policy to add and include any coverage that might be needed on a long trip with unfamiliar road hazards. One of the things you can do to ensure that you stay safe on the road is to double-check your policy for full and proper coverage.
Getting the right coverage is important because it protects you from the unexpected events and challenges of any road. If you are on the lookout for an affordable auto insurance policy, you might want to consider getting coverage from a well-established provider like Freeway car insurance. Remember, driving at night is riskier than driving during the day, so you need to be adequately covered.
Carry an Emergency Kit
There are many things you have to watch for when driving at night, besides other cars. You can run into an animal, a pothole, or a fallen tree. Carry a roadside emergency kit. It should have jumper cables, a first aid kit, batteries, flashlights, and flares. The flashlights and lighting aids will help you be visible to other drivers, minimizing the chance of a roadside accident.
Be Mindful of the Weather
If you drive to another state, it is important to know what weather to expect while on the road. Driving through the snow, rain, fog, or at night is more challenging than doing it in the daylight with those same conditions.
At night all you have is your vision, the streetlights, and your car lights to protect you. You have the all-powerful illuminating sun during the day, and your headlights can help if it is too cloudy. Either way, it is safer to drive at night when you know what weather to expect because you will be prepared for what may lie ahead. Be open to postponing the journey if the weather is too bad for traveling.
Take multiple breaks while driving in the night alone to stay awake and alert throughout your journey. You can drink coffee, but don’t overdose on the caffeine. Put on some music and sing to help you stay awake during the drive.
Finally, don’t forget to buckle up and, perhaps, get someone to go with you on the trip. There is safety in numbers, and a co-driver can take over when you are too tired. If you cannot stay awake when driving at night, stop in a safe environment and take a nap. Protecting yourself from injury and other drivers is an integral part of the commitment you make when you get a license to drive. Well rested, you can continue the journey and reach your destination without incident.