Travelling or driving in the dark or at night poses a lot of risks to both you and the community’s safety. The conditions are remarkably different in the night-time, and it is at this time that crash risk increases. It is difficult to see the road, pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, and other vehicles due to the reduced vision brought by darkness. Also, at night, there is an increase in road users who are either drunk or just plain tired and their behaviour becomes more unpredictable and hazardous. Hence, it is essential to know some safety tips when travelling at night to avoid accidents. Here are 8 safety tips:
1. Check your headlights!
Check if they are clean and working. The headlights and taillights must be turned on from sunset till sunrise. Your headlights must be on low-beam when another vehicle approaches you and is within 200 meters. This also applies when you are driving 200 meters or less behind another car.
The alignment of headlights is essential. Misaligned lights can decrease reaction time. This leads to reduced visibility and ultimately cause a collision. Know how to adjust your lights here.
2. Slow down when something is amiss.
Usually, drivers at night slow down when they see signs or reflectors along the road. Reduce speed if you’re nearing intersections and pedestrians. Watch out for blind spots and curves. Slowing down during these times would help you better see the road ahead and avoid accidents.
When a vehicle approaches towards your direction with a high-beam headlight, slow down and pull over if necessary to let your eyes recover from the lights that may have dazzled you.
Reducing speed will give you better recovery time if something goes wrong. This also applies to adverse weather conditions like rain or hail.
When you hear, smell, or see something out of the ordinary, slow down and pull over to check what it might be. You should always be sure that you are travelling in the safest manner, especially when your vision is limited.
3. Watch out for wildlife!
Around 5% of road accidents are animal crashes. More than half of these accidents were fatal. Additionally, 42% of fatal driving accidents in NSW (2001-2005) were caused by animals. Kangaroos, wallabies, sheep, emus, wombats, and deer are the most common road kills.
It is a must that you drive with your lights on full beam unless you are behind another vehicle. In this way, you have more time to see any wildlife on the road. If you see an animal, switch to low-beam lights and slow down. A full-beam light would blind the animal cause it to freeze, unable to find an escape route.
4. Be a good driver in general.
Follow all driving rules and regulations.
- Always bring your license in case of emergencies.
- Fasten your seatbelts. Always.
- Follow traffic lights.
- Always check your mirrors and windshield. Keep them clean.
- Use your indicators when changing lanes.
- Keep a safe distance with vehicles in front and at your rear (leave at least 3-4 seconds gap).
- Do not use your mobile phone while driving!
Anticipate the behaviour of other road users. Drive with caution if you can sense erratic drivers near you. Blow your horn and call the attention of the driver who you think may be lethargic or drunk to wake him/her up.
5. Overtake only when necessary!
Do not overtake unless it is safe. Always leave enough room to accommodate other vehicles that are overtaking. Indicate you’re overtaking using your indicator lights. Some might even want to blow their horn to signify this intent.
Unless you are overtaking, always keep left. Not only is this a courteous gesture, but it is the right thing to do. According to the law, vehicles must stay out of the right lane on a multi-lane road with a speed limit over 80 km/hr.
6. Do not drink and drive!
Alcohol affects your brain. It slows it down until you can no longer respond to certain circumstances, make choices, or react quickly. It reduces your ability to judge how fast you or other road users are moving relative to other vehicles, people, or objects. Alcohol makes it harder for you to multi-task and affects your sense of balance. You do not have to be drunk to experience these. Just an ample amount may cost you your life or someone else’s.
Drinking alcohol and driving is seen in 1 in every 7 fatal crashes in NSW. According to Transport of NSW, from the drunk drivers who were killed during 2013-2017, 93% were male, and 67% were under 40.
Alcohol makes you drowsy, which brings us to the next tip.
7. Avoid driver fatigue!
According to the Transport Accident Commission, fatigue driving or drowsy driving is the primary culprit in more than 20% of fatal accidents on the road. According to them, fatal crashes usually happen during sleeping hours, and the cause is driving while fatigued.
The causes of drowsy driving include the lack of sleep, driving during sleeping times, sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea, general tiredness, and alcohol consumption. This can affect you by reducing your reaction time, vigilance, and concentration. You may experience poor calculation in the speed of your vehicle relative to others.
Beat driver drowsiness by these tips:
- Get a good night’s sleep prior to your travel.
- Take regular breaks or power naps at stations where you can pull over.
- Share the task of driving with other possible drivers you’re with.
- Do not drink alcohol.
- Keep yourself awake by chatting with someone.
- You may also talk or sing to yourself.
- Avoid slow music.
- Try having some caffeine.
- Periodically roll windows down for fresh air.
8. In case of a breakdown, call towing services.
When your car breaks down on the road, and you’re are unable to seek immediate help from someone you know nearby, better contact a towing company for your transport services. This is also a way to avoid further accidents. Being in the middle of the road at night can be quite stressful and dangerous. It is within your best interest to keep
yourself and your car safe.
Contact the best towing and transport tow truck near you!
Newcastle Towing and Transport Tow Truck Newcastle & Lake Macquarie offer a complete tilt tray truck solution to moving cars in the Hunter Region.
We offer 24/7 towing services to be there when you need us most. Our experienced team will treat you and your vehicle with the respect you both deserve. We take great pride in our work and are committed to customer satisfaction.