As we get further into Fall, daylight becomes less and less so brush up on your driving after dark with these night driving safety tips. Drivers often forget to turn on headlights at the mandated one half-hour before sunset and one half-hour after sunrise, per the Highway Traffic Act (HTA).
Many vehicles have automatic headlights, however "phantom vehicles" continue to roam the streets of Ontario.
Did you know the rate of traffic deaths at night is three times greater than driving during the day? It is more difficult to see hazards ahead on the road, and often the lack of scenery can be hypnotizing, sending drivers into a state of dangerous drowsiness. Since drivers’ jobs require that they drive after dark, it is important for them to remember the challenges they may face on the road.
In fact, since drivers aren’t used to the decreased visibility, traffic deaths are much more common at night down than during the daytime—both for drivers and pedestrians.
According to CBC News, "Transport Canada receives numerous complaints about drivers who fail to turn on lights after dark".
Whether you drive for your job or commute home from work in the evening, it's important to remember the following safety night driving safety tips:
- Turn on your headlights one hour before sunset until one hour after sunrise so other drivers can see you easily.
- Make sure all of your exterior lights are working properly.
- Refrain from looking into your rear-view mirror at oncoming headlights. Use the “day-night” feature to reduce the light.
- Do not look directly at oncoming headlights. Look toward the right side of the road, following the white line with your eyes.
- Dim your dashboard lights if excess street lighting is causing a glare.
- Keep your windows clean, as dirty windows can reduce visibility by up to 90 per cent.
- Increase your following distance by four or five seconds to give yourself more response time.
- Slow your speed, especially in dangerous weather conditions.
- Adjust your outside mirrors so that the view is just outside of the bodywork of the vehicle.
- Make sure you properly aim your headlights.
- Avoid smoking, as the nicotine and carbon monoxide hamper night vision.
- Keep your headlights on low beams when following other vehicles.
- If you have vehicle trouble, pull off the road as far to the right as possible and set up reflector triangles near your vehicle and up to 91 metres behind it. Turn on your flashers and your dome light, and call for assistance.
- Make stops to use the washroom, stretch your legs and have a snack to reduce fatigue.
- If you get too tired while driving at night, stop and take a rest.
If you have vehicle trouble, pull off the road as far to the right as possible. Set up reflector triangles near your vehicle and up to 300 feet behind it. Turn on your flashers and your dome light, and call for assistance.
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