Aside from its abundance of holidays, the month of December is best known for having the longest nights of the year. As the sun sets earlier and earlier, many of us are spending more time behind the wheel in the dark—and that can be dangerous. According to the National Safety Council, half of all traffic-related deaths happen at night, while only 25% of all driving occurs during that time. In this blog, we examine the top five ways to stay safe while driving at night and how we can make sure you’re covered if you’re involved in an accident.
1) Preplan Your Trip
From shopping for gifts to visiting family, everyone is a little busier this month, so the roads are especially crowded. Before you shift into gear, plug your trip into your GPS or mentally plan out your route. Not only does this help you remain on the streets you’re familiar with, but it also helps to eliminate distractions so you can focus on the road in front of you.
2) Make Yourself Comfortable
Even if you’re driving on familiar ground, operating a vehicle at night is inherently more difficult than it is during the day. Simply feeling confident can go a long way in ensuring your safety and the safety of others. Check your mirrors, dim the lights on your dashboard, adjust your seat—it all adds up to a more comfortable experience behind the wheel. You should also remember to schedule regular eye exams to ensure your vision hasn’t deteriorated.
3) Don’t Drive Impaired
This one is obvious but still needs to be said: never drink and drive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says 29 people die every day in crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver, and that statistic doesn’t even account for other types of potential impairments; many prescribed and over-the-counter medications and even some supplements can significantly impact your reaction time and your senses. Be aware of how these medications affect you and plan accordingly before you get behind the wheel.
4) Stay Alert and Awake
Impaired driving isn’t always substance related. According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 633 people were killed in accidents involving drowsy drivers in 2020. In addition to the risk of falling asleep at the wheel, sleep deprivation can cause drivers to experience mental impairment that is similar to drunkenness. Don’t wait until you have caught yourself nodding off to decide to do something about it—get off the road and figure out another way to reach your destination or wait until you feel safe to drive.
5) Practice Defensive Driving
You may have taken the necessary steps for safe driving, but that doesn’t mean others on the road have done the same. Prepare for the worst and drive defensively. You should never follow another vehicle too closely, but it’s especially important to avoid this behavior at night when other drivers’ reaction times could be slower for any of the aforementioned reasons.
Let Us Keep You Covered
Even if you take every precaution, accidents can still happen. Take a minute to review these steps for filing an insurance claim so you’ll know what to do, just in case.
We know that every situation is unique, and we base our auto insurance recommendations on individual considerations and reviews. We’ll make sure you’re covered, so give us a call today to see what we can do for you. From our family to yours—have a safe and happy holiday season!