Here in the St. Louis area, fall is in full swing. The leaves are changing colors, the Rams are back in action, and temperatures are falling once more. It’s a beautiful time of year for family gatherings, outdoor events and cozy nights, especially with the sun setting earlier by the day.
With the decrease in daylight, though, also comes the need for some motorists to spend more time driving in the dark. And for many folks—young and old—this leads to added anxiety behind the wheel, as well as an overall increased probability for accidents.
Statistics show that even with 60 percent less traffic on the road, roughly half of all fatal car accidents happen at night. Some of the reasons for these accidents include the decreased visibility and perception of motorists, higher numbers of drunk and drowsy drivers on the road, and a greater number of speed-limit breakers. And, for one reason or another, drivers are also less likely to wear their safety belts at night, which contributes to a higher fatality rate per accident compared to accidents that occur during the day.
Because we care about our customers, we at Meyer’s and Waterloo Automotive want to share five helpful tips for driving in the dark. And, as strong advocates for teenage driver safety, we encourage parents to share this information with their kids in order to keep them safe on the road as well.
- Obey the Laws – Because driving at night comes with so many added dangers, it’s important to observe the established rules of the road such as speed limits, the use of turn signals and complete stops. It’s also highly important to resist the temptation to text while driving, which is already one of the most hazardous practices for any motorist. By observing the laws, however, you’ll be more likely to get safely to and from your destination.
- Aim Your Headlights – While you may not even know they had the ability to be inappropriately aimed, headlights that point in the wrong direction can not only decrease your vision, but also impair the vision of oncoming drivers. Make sure your headlights are aimed correctly by stopping by our shops today!
- Keep All Windshields Clean – Limiting the glare from street lights, stoplights and oncoming traffic is important to your ability to see the road at night. Keep your windshields clean both inside and outside by using window cleaner and newspapers, which have a mildly abrasive quality that enhances the power of the cleaning product.
- Use Your Appropriate Beams – Whenever you are driving in an urban setting, following other vehicles or approaching oncoming traffic, your low beams should be used. High beams greatly hinder the visual capacity of other drivers, making them more likely to crash into you or other objects. Use high beams only when in rural settings and when no other drivers are around. And, should another motorist fail to dim their beams when coming toward you, avoid looking directly at the lights and, instead, focus on the right side of the road and use it as a guide.
- Don’t Out-Drive Your Lights – Motorists should always be able to stop within the space illuminated by their headlights. Driving any faster creates a blind crash area in front of the vehicle. By reducing your speed at night and increasing your following distances, you’ll give yourself proper reaction time to unexpected events.
At Meyer’s and Waterloo Automotive, we know that driving at night can be dangerous. That’s why we encourage you to take the proper safety measures when getting behind the wheel after dark. The statistics don’t lie, but you can greatly decrease the probability that you’ll become one of them if you follow drive cautiously and stay present. And, while we didn’t include this as a tip, we hope it goes without saying that you should never, under any circumstances, drink and drive. While it’s deadly any time of day, it’s almost a guaranteed killer at night. If you’re out at night and choose to have a few drinks, make sure you recruit a designated driver or use public transportation to get home.
This week, make sure you’re ready for nighttime driving. Prioritize your safety and the safety of other motorists, and you’ll be able relax and enjoy the ride. And to make sure your car is ready for the road, contact Meyer’s or Waterloo Automotive today!