Mauston residents enjoy a quieter lifestyle than residents of bigger cities, but this can come with much more driving when you want to find something new to do. Each time you hit the road for a night out or a weekend away, you’re at risk of an accident — especially if you’re on the road at night. Here’s what you need to know to keep yourself safe.
Why Driving at Night Brings More Risk
Driving at night brings several challenges. Your eyes work best in natural light, and it can be hard to adjust as you drive in and out of lighted areas or get blinded by someone’s headlights. Your visibility range is also reduced if you’re driving through dark rural areas where deer or other hazards could be lurking in the shadows.
Seniors and impaired drivers are at increased risk due to loss of visual sensitivity and potentially diminished mental capacity. Remember that even if you’re driving safely, you never know what the cars around you are going to do.
How to Stay Safe When Driving At Night
There are several things you can do to stay safe on the road at night and reduce your risk of an accident.
Try to avoid trips that have you driving at night. This includes both rural and urban areas.
Rural areas have the hazards of darting deer, fallen tree limbs, or other animals or objects you might not see in time. If you end up with a flat tire, it may be hard to find a place to change it safely without having to worry about other drivers not seeing you in the dark. Finally, if you go off the road in an accident, there’s a chance that no one would be able to see you to get help.
Urban areas are also risky even if they’re well lit. The chances of encountering a drunk or impaired driver go up exponentially after dark.
Don’t Drive in the Rain, Fog, or Snow
You should also avoid driving in poor weather. Slippery roads and reduced visibility increase the risk of accidents and can make accidents that do happen worse.
If you have somewhere to be, plan ahead so you can leave before the weather gets worse. If you’re trying to get home, stop and have a coffee until the weather improves. Your family would rather see you a little later than never again.
Don’t Speed Past Your Headlights
You should keep a safe stopping distance from any potential hazard not just cars in front of you. Many cars can’t stop within the distance that their headlights illuminate at highway speeds especially if you aren’t able to use your high beams. If a large tree limb fell on the road hours ago, you may not be able to see it until it’s too late.
Always drive at a speed at which if someone were to suddenly put down a stop sign right at the edge of your headlights, you’d be able to stop on time. On roads with no or more lighting, this could even mean driving below the speed limit.
Be Smart About the Roads You Take
At night, safety can be more important than saving a few minutes with a shortcut. Try to avoid rural roads known for deer or urban roads through bar districts. Also, try to pick well-lit roads with enough traffic that you could get help from another driver if you needed to.
Remember, many accidents are avoidable. By following these safety steps, you’ll increase your chances of getting home safely.