During the summer months, some truckers may be tempted to spend more time driving at night. It’s a good way to stay out of the sun, avoid some of the more intense summer holiday traffic, conserve power by being able to keep your A/C off, and protect some of your vehicle’s parts (such as tires that expand in the heat, potentially resulting in a blowout). Unfortunately, these benefits come with a trade-off—there are some night-specific dangers that all drivers need to be aware of to keep themselves and others safe on the road.
Of course, the most obvious danger when driving at night is reduced visibility. Lower visibility makes it more difficult to see the road, especially if you’re driving in an area without lights. It also makes it more difficult to see hazards in and around the road. This can include construction areas, potholes, debris, and wildlife.
Some things that can help with low visibility include:
- Slow down
- Dim your dashboard
- Keep your headlights clean
- Clear any streaks off of your windshield
- Make sure any eyewear you need is anti-reflective
- Avoid looking at oncoming headlights and bright billboards
Tired and fatigued drivers are a significant problem while driving at night. Some information on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website states: “NHTSA estimates that in 2017, 91,000 police-reported crashes involved drowsy drivers. These crashes led to an estimated 50,000 people injured and nearly 800 deaths.” According to the National Safety Council, most accidents and near-misses are reported during night hours, particularly between 12 a.m.—2 a.m. and 4 a.m.—6 a.m.
If you decide to drive at night, stay on high alert anytime you run into another vehicle on the road. They are also being affected by vision impairment, and they could be suffering from exhaustion, fatigue, or they may even be driving while impaired.
According to the National Safety Council, “…drunk driving has declined by about one-third since 2007.” This is great news, but it is somewhat offset by the fact that the number of drivers impaired by recreational drugs has risen significantly in the past decade. While many states have taken steps to de-criminalize and even legalize these substances, traffic laws have struggled to keep up with these changes.
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