5 Tips for Safe Driving After Dark

Driving at night is not easy.  Once the sun goes down, there may be less traffic on the roads but dangers are increased tenfold due to lack of visibility.  Even drivers who have excellent vision must be cautious: after dark, we lose much of our depth perception, we don’t see colors the same way we do during the day, and our peripheral vision is altered.   Not to mention increased fatigue and drowsiness…

Here are a few tips to help you stay safe when driving after dark:

  • Watch the road: Avoid distractions, such as discussions with passengers or listening to excessively loud music.  Stay focused on driving the vehicle and pay attention to the movements of other drivers.

  • Slow down: Slowing down makes it easier to assess the distance between you and another vehicle and will give you more time to react if you need to brake unexpectedly.  Remember that your headlights illuminate the road up to 50 meters in front of you and that is the distance needed to stop when driving 70 km/h.

  • Reduce glare:  Dim your lights at the first sign of an oncoming vehicle and look far ahead of you; use the white line at the right edge of the road to guide you.  If there’s a driver in front of you, be kind and keep your beams on low.   Also clean your windshield and mirrors before hitting the road: the reflection of light on a dirty surface can create a dangerous glare.

  • Watch for creatures: Most animals are seen crossing the road between dusk and dawn.  Any animal, whether small as a cat or large as a moose, can cause you to lose control of your vehicle and have an accident.  If you think you see an animal, slow down, honk your horn and try not to swerve aggressively. 

  • Don’t drive if you’re drowsy: It is imperative to stop at the slightest sign of drowsiness.  Yawning, heavy eyes, blurred vision, stiff neck and back discomfort are all signs that your body needs to rest.  Don’t hesitate to pull over and take a nap: better to arrive late than not arrive at all.

Moreover, when on a long-distance trip, it is recommended to take a break every two hours. Take the opportunity to stretch your legs, have a coffee and eat a light snack. Above all, avoid alcohol, which is a powerful sedative.