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How you can stay safe and avoid accidents when driving at night

On Behalf of | Nov 23, 2023 | Blog |

One thing that many people dislike about the fall and winter months is that it gets dark much earlier. Likewise, many drivers in Oregon dread getting behind the wheel after the sun goes down. Driving in low-light conditions can be dangerous since it’s much harder to see what is around your vehicle or in your way. It can also be more difficult to get a bearing on your surroundings in the dark, so it’s easier to get lost if you’re unfamiliar with the area in which you’re driving.  

Low visibility at night increases the odds of you getting into car accidents. According to data from the National Safety Council, the risk for traffic fatalities nearly triples at night as opposed to the day. However, if you take the proper precautions, driving at night may be better if you’re taking a road trip or traveling long distances. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re driving at night. 

Before taking to the road 

Before heading out at night, make sure your vehicle is appropriately prepared. At night, a dirty windshield can cause glare, and dirty headlights can reduce visibility. Ensuring that your windshield and headlights are clean can vastly improve safety. To improve your visibility at night, it can be helpful to dim your dashboard lights and avoid looking directly into the headlights of oncoming vehicles.  

Rush hour 

We all know how challenging it is to drive through rush-hour traffic with over-crowded roads and commuters hastily trying to get home after work. Although driving during the evening rush hour can be dangerous at any time of year, it’s typically dark during rush hour in the winter, so this situation can be even more dangerous. When driving at night during rush hour, stay alert, be patient and slow down. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, look at a map before you head out and memorize your route so you’re not constantly consulting your GPS navigation. 

Stay alert and drive defensively 

It’s understandable to be in a hurry to get to your destination, but always remember getting there a little late is better than not getting there at all. When driving at night, it is critical to stay alert and reduce your speed. Since you have reduced visibility, it will take you longer to react or stop your vehicle in case of an emergency. If you find yourself getting tired or groggy, take a break or find a place to rest before continuing your journey. 

Getting help after an accident 

Although most motorists only do about 25% of their total driving after dark, nearly half of all traffic deaths happen at night. Regardless of if you are familiar with the road or not, driving at night is always more dangerous. Yet, you can’t predict what another driver will do, and there will always be those who are careless and drive distracted, fatigued or intoxicated. If you are injured in an accident that happened due to no fault of your own, there are options available to help you in the aftermath. 

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