How can I drive safely at night?

driving at night in bad weather

According to California law, all drivers must use headlights 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise. You must also use your headlights any time you cannot see 1,000 feet ahead of your vehicle.

Challenges for night drivering:

1.Low visibility and vision problems

  • Driver's depth perception, color recognition, and peripheral vision are substantially reduced at night.
  • If vision is imperfect, night vision can become worse, and it will be more challenging to see objects clearly.
  • Other vehicles' headlights or high beams can strain your eyes and vision.
  • Objects look different and are not as clear in the dark.

sleepy driver

2.Fatigue Challenges Drivers are usually tired at night; this makes them less alert, unable to focus and slower to react to traffic hazards.

When drivers have a slow reaction time, they are less likely to react correctly and promptly to a hazard, which increases the risk of an accident.

3.Impaired Drivers There are drivers on the road at night who have had a drink or two and may use poor judgment driving after drinking.

These drivers add accident risks to the roads at night because they are not alert, cannot focus or react well to traffic situations, tend to tailgate, use bad judgment and may even drift into your lane. So, be aware and stay away from drivers who tend to drift in and out of their lanes or tailgate or show other signs of being impaired.

4.Night driving guidelines for staying safe on the road

  • Follow California law and use headlights 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise. (Also use your headlights in any condition that limits your visibility, such as fog, rain, snow, dusk, snow, rain, and fog).
  • Keep your windshield and windows clean, both inside and outside. It is especially important to keep the interior of your windshield and windows clean to reduce glare.
  • Inspect all of your vehicle's lights and make sure that they are all functioning properly.
  • Don't drive if you are tired. If you are driving and feel tired, try to find a safe place to park and rest until you feel okay to drive.
  • Driving requires a lot of focus and concentration, and it can make you especially tired at night. Thus, if you have a long drive home, try to exit the highway periodically or stop in rest areas, get out of the car and stretch and give your brain, eyes and body a rest, and make sure you are alert before getting on the freeway.
  • Don't drink and drive even if you are drinking within the legal limit. Alcohol can make you feel tired and less alert, and slows down your reaction time to traffic situations.
  • Watch out for drunk drivers and stay away from them. Drunk drivers tend to drift in and out or drive outside of the lane, tailgate or show other signs of being impaired.
  • Keep more distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Never drive so fast that you cannot stop within the length of your headlight beams (overdriving your headlights).
  • Use your high beams on highways, rural roads or dark roads; however, do not use your high beams in fog when there is constant upcoming traffic or there is a vehicle within 500 feet or when you are following another car within 300 feet.
  • Never shine your high beams at another driver intentionally – you could both be blinded and cause a crash.
  • If someone is discourteous with their headlights, do not try to get even with them.
  • Avoid looking directly into the headlights of oncoming traffic.
  • Look to the right edge of your lane while you watch the approaching car out of the corner of your eye.