December 19, 2012
Safe Driving at Night
Even the most reliable drivers may be wary of traveling late in the evening. At night, there are far fewer drivers on the road than during the day, but about half of traffic fatalities happen after dark, according to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to make night driving safer.
Prep Your Car for Night Driving
Keep it clean. Make sure your windows, headlights, tail lights and signal lights are clean so they are easier for other drivers to see.
Switch your rearview mirror to the night setting. Flipping the small lever at the bottom of your mirror changes the angle of its reflective surface. You’ll still see the lights from the cars behind you, but they will be less bright in your eyes.
Make sure your headlights are aimed properly. If your headlights are misaligned, it can make it harder for you to see, and it can disturb other drivers on the road.
Check your headlights at least once a year. According to SYLVANIA Automotive Lighting, headlights can dim up to 20 percent over time. A recent survey commissioned by the brand revealed that 55 percent of drivers have never changed their headlights or don’t know the last time they were changed. Here’s how to check your headlights:
- Park on a level surface facing five feet from a building wall or your garage door, then turn on your headlights.
- If the circles of light are bright and white, they are in good working condition.
- If they are yellow and dim, the bulbs should be replaced.
If you do need to change headlights, consider upgrading to a premium bulb, such as SilverStar ULTRA bulbs by SYLVANIA. They provide up to 40 percent increased down road visibility, up to 50 percent increased side road visibility, and up to 50 percent brighter light, compared with worn standard halogen headlights.
Always change headlight bulbs in pairs. If you only change one, the new one will likely be brighter than the old one, causing an uneven field of illumination.
If the lenses on a vehicle’s headlights are cloudy or hazy, replacing the bulbs may not be enough. Consider a headlight restoration kit, which restores headlights to like-new condition and performance light output.
Practice Safe Night Driving
Don’t get caught in the glare. If light from oncoming vehicles shines directly into your eyes, look down and to the right. Look toward the white line on the side of the road — this lets you see cars around you with your peripheral vision, but cuts down on the glare.
Use your lights appropriately. When following other vehicles, use your low beams so you don’t disturb the other drivers.
Increase the distance between you and the cars ahead of you. It’s harder to judge the speed of other vehicles at night, so you need to give yourself plenty of room to stop safely.