As we enter the fall season and make our way towards winter, our days continue to get shorter and shorter. Sunsets are starting earlier each day and, for some of us, this means spending more time behind the wheel of a car after dark.

Nighttime driving can be especially risky for you and your family. According to the National Safety Council, there are three times as many deaths from traffic-related accidents at night than during the day. To avoid accidents, follow these five night driving safety tips.

Tip #1: Make Sure Your Car Is Ready for Nighttime Driving

While your car might be in perfect condition for daytime driving, you may need to spend a little time getting your car ready to safely drive at night.

To prepare your car nighttime driving, do the following:

  • Check for burnt-out headlights and taillights
  • Make sure your headlights are properly aimed and clean
  • Clean your windshield, inside and out, to remove dirt buildup and streaks
  • Dim your dashboard and radio lights

Tip #2: Test Your Eyesight

When was the last time you had your vision tested? Even if you think you have perfect eyesight, getting an annual checkup is a good idea, especially if you need to drive after dark.

Some people may find that they do not need glasses for normal daytime activities, but need glasses to see well at night. To ensure your family’s safety, make sure you know when you need to wear glasses before getting behind the wheel.

Tip #3: Get Plenty of Sleep Before Driving

Sleep deprivation is common among drivers - according to the National Sleep Foundation, 60 percent of adult drivers admit they have driven a vehicle while fatigued and 37 percent have even admitted to falling asleep while driving.

Driving at dusk or after dark, when the body naturally wants to rest, can be dangerous. If possible, try to limit the amount of time you spend behind the wheel after a long day, take frequent breaks on long car trips, and stay alert for fatigued drivers in other vehicles.

Tip #4: Stay Calm and Drive the Speed Limit

Road rage is common among drivers of all ages (80 percent admitted to road rage in a recent AAA survey), especially in rush hour traffic. And according to the National Safety Council, the hours between four and seven in the afternoon are among the most dangerous for drivers. Try following these tips during after-dark and/or rush-hour traffic:

  • Do not weave in and out of traffic
  • Stay patient and do not speed
  • Keep your eyes on the road and on other drivers, not on your cell phone

Tip #5: Share This Information with Your Family

To make sure your friends and family stay safe, share these safety tips with them and encourage them to practice good night driving habits. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one-third of all fatal car accidents involving teenagers occur at night, meaning that safe night driving practices are especially important for younger drivers.

Keep your family safe at night by getting and staying prepared for nighttime driving. If another driver causes an accident in which you or a loved one are injured, contact Jason R. Schultz, PC at 404-474-0804. 

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