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6 Safety Tips for Driving in Darkness

Getting behind the wheel before dawn or after sunset requires extra caution. Here are six tips to help you stay safe.

man in dark standing beside car, picture
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Photo: Melissa Barnes
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When you drive in the dark, make sure that all your windows are clean, inside and out.

Mile for mile, driving fatalities are three times more likely at night than during the day. Here's what you can do to stay safe.

See and be seen

Clean your vehicle's windows inside and out frequently. Make sure the windshield wipers are working, and give the headlights, taillights, and mirrors a regular wipe-down, too.

Watch for wildlife

Deer, raccoons, and other animals often roam at night. Use your high beams when there's no oncoming traffic, and watch the sides of the road for sudden movement. If an animal jumps in front of your car, don't swerve. Just hit the brakes.

Light your path

Headlight lenses can get scuffed and dull after years of use. The good news: Refurbishing can double their illuminating power, and a mechanic can quickly handle the job for a fraction of the cost of new lenses.

Avoid the glare

Don't stare at oncoming headlights. Shift your gaze to the right side of the road until the other vehicle has passed.

Get defensive

At times when other drivers are more likely to be drowsy, distracted, or intoxicated, it's critical to obey speed limits and give other cars a wide berth.

Stay alert

It's easy to get dangerously sleepy during a late-night drive. Avoid driving after your usual bedtime, and take frequent breaks during long trips. Having a passenger for conversation can also help. If your eyelids suddenly feel heavy or you can't remember the last few miles, find a safe place to pull over and get some rest.

This article was first published in Winter 2016. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

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