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Driving at Night: Eight Safety Tips


The nights are getting longer. In addition to the poor visibility, drunk and drowsy drivers can also make driving at night especially hazardous. Keep the road safe for yourself and the people around you by brushing up on nighttime driving tips.

Driving in Winter

One of the advantages of living in Hawaii is that you don’t have to deal with severe winters, but you still have to deal with dark nights.

According to Time and Date, on December 21 – that’s the Winter Solstice and the shortest day of the year – Honolulu will have a daylength of about 10 hours and 50 minutes, with the sun rising at 7:04 a.m. and setting at 5:54.

That’s pretty good compared to some more northern locations. In Seattle, for example, the daylength will only be about 8 hours and 25 minutes, and the sun will set at 4:20.

But it still means that if you’re driving anywhere after about 5:00, you’re going to lose daylight fast. Make sure you’re ready.

Tips to keep You Safe on the Road

  1. Use your headlights. Don’t be one of those people who forgets to turn on their headlights. It’s not just about making the road more visible for you – it’s also about making your car more visible for others. High beams can provide better visibility but stick to your low beams if there’s oncoming traffic or if you’re following behind another vehicle.
  2. Make sure all your lights work. If your lights are out, turning them on won’t do any good. Routinely check all of your lights, including your headlights, taillights and brake lights. Also make sure your headlights are properly aligned.
  3. Check your windshield and windshield wipers. Driving at night can be challenging but driving at night when it’s also raining is even worse. Windshield wipers that leave streaks can decrease visibility, so replace your wipers if they no longer work properly. Also keep your windshield clean to prevent streaks that can cause glare and reduce visibility.
  4. Reduce your speed. According to the NHTSA, low beam headlights only illuminate about 160 feet of the road in front of you, and visibility may be worse if there are hills, curves, or dips. If you’re going fast, you may not have enough time to react to hazards on the road.
  5. Stay sober. The NHTSA says that about 28 people die in drunk-driving crashes every day in the U.S. If you’re driving, stay sober. Also be alert for drunk drivers.
  6. Don’t drive while drowsy. The CDC says that drowsy driving is a serious problem, and it’s similar to drunk driving. According to the National Sleep Foundation, it’s estimated that 21% of fatal crashes involve a drowsy driver, and 60% of adult drivers admitted that they had driven while drowsy in the last year. If you’re too tired to drive, find somewhere safe to pull over and rest for a while.
  7. Avoid potential distractions. Distracted driving is another major problem. We all know that we should never use smartphones while driving because they involve visual, manual and cognitive distractions. But there are many other less obvious distractions that can impair your driving abilities, such as your fiddling with your navigation system or other vehicle controls, eating a cheeseburger, talking with other passengers or even mentally rehashing events of the day. Strive to minimize and avoid distractions.
  8. Share the road. Pedestrians and cyclists may still be out after the sun sets, so keep an eye open for them. And this goes both ways – if you’re a pedestrian or cyclist, make sure you’re staying safe. If drivers can’t see you, they can’t stop for you.

Stay Safe This Winter and All Year

Prioritizing safety when driving at night is the best way to protect yourself and the people around you. It’s also the best way to avoid crashes and keep your auto insurance rates low. If you need help with auto insurance, contact a FICOH agent.