As the days grow shorter with the end of Daylight Savings Time, drivers face new challenges on the road. Shorter days with later sunrises and earlier sunsets can decrease visibility and increase the risk of accidents. According to the National Safety Council, the peak time of day for crashes between November and March is 4 p.m. to 7:59 p.m.
Driving in the dark requires heightened awareness and caution. Reduced visibility makes it harder to spot pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles. Here are some tips to reduce your risks as we head into the winter.
Give yourself and other drivers breathing room
Slow down! Reducing your speed gives you more time to react to unexpected situations and reduces the severity of accidents if they occur. Plus, maintaining a safe following distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you can help you avoid rear-ending the car in front of you. When you’re driving at night, be sure to increase the distance you normally keep.
Make sure you can see and be seen
Proper car lighting is crucial for both your ability to see the road and to be seen by others. Follow these lighting guidelines:
- Regularly inspect and replace your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and taillights to ensure they are functioning correctly.
- Dirty or foggy headlights can significantly reduce visibility. Clean them regularly to maintain optimal brightness.
- Ensure your headlights are aligned properly. Use low beams in the presence of other vehicles and switch to high beams on unlit roads, but be mindful of oncoming traffic.
- Dim your dashboard lights to reduce internal reflections on the windshield, enhancing your ability to see the road clearly.
Focus on the road ahead
Distractions are dangerous at any time, but they’re particularly hazardous during nighttime driving. Minimize distractions to keep your focus where it belongs with these tips:
- Avoid your devices: Don’t be tempted to text, call, or play with apps while driving. If necessary, pull over to a safe location to make a call or send a message.
- Minimize in-car distractions: Keep conversations and music at a moderate volume, and avoid engaging in activities that take your attention away from driving.
- Stay rested: Fatigue can impair your reaction time and judgment. Ensure you are well-rested before getting behind the wheel.
Get ready for the winter
As daylight saving time ends and darkness falls earlier, all drivers need to adapt their habits to improve road safety. By staying vigilant, maintaining proper car lighting, and avoiding distractions, you can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and create a safer environment for everyone.
If you’re involved in an accident through no fault of your own, reach out by phone or text to the experienced personal injury lawyers at Hunter & Everage to discuss your options.
Let’s make a collective effort to drive responsibly and protect ourselves and others during the challenging months of reduced daylight. Safe travels!