Thursday, February 12, 2015

Precautions for Night Driving

Although we have been having a relatively mild Winter, with some 60 degree days this past weekend, the season still brings longer nights. The sun sets earlier and for many of us, it's already dark when we leave the office for home. This can mean increased danger on the roads.

While you may think you drive just as well at night as you do during the day, consider the following statistics: According to the National Safety Commission (NCS), even though nighttime driving accounts for just 23% of vehicle miles traveled, more than 50% of fatalities for vehicle occupants 16 and older occur between the hours of 6 PM and 6 AM. At Insure the Lake, we are advocates for safety and thought to address the issues with night driving and steps you can take to make driving at night less dangerous.

What's Dangerous About Night Driving? 

1. Decreased Visibility - Different parts of the eye work differently at night. Your peripheral vision is actually slightly improved, however it is more difficult to focus on objects directly ahead of you. Traveling between well-lit areas and darker roads also creates issues because your eyes have to re-adjust.

2. Driving Too Fast For Your Headlights - Depending on your vehicle speed and the headlight setting, many people actually "over-drive" their headlights. That means that by the time they see something on the road, it's too late to stop in time to avoid it.

3. Impaired Judgement - Whether due to drowsiness or the use of alcohol or drugs, it appears that drivers at night often don't use good judgement. According the the NSC, 66% of fatalities at night involve vehicle occupants who were not wearing seat belts.

How Can You Decrease the Danger? 

Occasionally, you'll have to drive at night; sometimes there's just no way around it. Here are some tips to help you make a safe trip. Whether you're just running across town to the store or across the country on a road trip, these tips can help you decrease the chances of getting into an accident. 

1. Make Sure Headlights Are Working - First, make sure not only your headlights, but also your taillights, turn signals, etc. are all in proper working condition. You should clean them once a week to make sure the optimal amount of light is coming through. You'll also want to make sure they are properly aimed. Misaimed headlights blind other drivers and reduce your ability to see the road. 

2. Clean Your Windows - Be sure to clean all of your windows, inside and out. Dirty windows make it harder to see out of and can create glares when oncoming headlights or street lights hit the windows. 

3. Avoid Speeding - Slow down and be sure to keep extra room between you and the cars in front of you. Allow yourself more time than you would during the day for the same trip. In addition, be sure to keep your headlights on low beam when following another vehicle so you don't blind the driver ahead of you. You can avoid glare from oncoming traffic yourself by focusing on the right edge of the road and using it as a steering guide. 

4. Be More Aware of Surroundings - While you shouldn't be using your phone, messing with the radio dial or trying to find something on the floor or backseat while your driving, these distractions are even more deadly at night. 

5. Avoid Drugs and Alcohol - Don't drink and drive or consume any medications that warn about operating a motor vehicle while taking them. You should also avoid smoking when you drive. The nicotine mixed with carbon monoxide can hinder night vision. 

6. Stay Awake - Make frequent stops for a light snack and exercise, especially if you are making a long trip. You should also keep the car temperature cooler and can even play some music to help keep you awake on long, night trips. 

Your Lake of the Ozarks insurance agent hopes you stay safe on the roads. If you do happen to get in accident, you want to make sure you have the proper insurance coverage. Contact the best insurance company at the Lake of the Ozarks at 573-348-2794 for a quote. We are independent and not tied to a single insurance provider, therefore we can give you more options without sacrificing the service!

Contact Insure the Lake today for all your Lake of the Ozarks car insurance needs! 

About the Author: Steve is a double back-flip insurance ninja. He was named Young Insurance Agent of the Year by the Missouri Association of Insurance Agents in 2010 and is a Certified Insurance Counselor. When he is not helping customers, he enjoys community service, Latin dancing with his beautiful wife and going on adventures with his two awesome sons.

Steve Naught, CIC

3736 Osage Beach Parkway
Osage Beach, MO 65065
Next to Golden Coral

T: 573-348-2794
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