As days get longer, we have more hours of daylight. Questions arise about driving at night. How do best practices change when the sun is setting in your eyes? When do you turn your lights on when dusk lasts an hour or more? Do you have a newer car with LED lights and, if so, how do those impact your night time driving? Here are a few tips on nighttime driving for those longer days.
- Always have a pair of sunglasses in your car. It’s not only maddening, but also distracting, when you are driving directly into the sun as it sets on the horizon in front of you. Drivers around you may be momentarily blinded and slow down without warning. Traffic is bound to be backing up. Your best defense is a good offense. In this case, a good pair of UV sunglasses that protect your eyes from and cut down glare are an absolutely necessity.
- In any month, if your car is not already equipped with them, you might want to consider adding LED lights to your car. LED lights, at first installed in new cars because of their glitz and high tech feel, serve a very important functional purpose. They are long-lasting, brighter and emit a whiter light, all of which contribute to long-term safety.
Longer Days and More Sunlight Hours Bring Potential Driving Hazards
- Be aware that rain showers, tree pollen and similar conditions can leave a dirty residue on your windshield. Smudged windshields and side mirrors reflect the sunlight in such a way as to increase glare. And, dirty headlights reduce visibility considerably. So, keep all glass and plastic reflective surfaces clean to maximize visibility. Keep a rag and windshield cleaner in your car at all times for this purpose.
- Don’t wait for dark to turn on your headlights. If you have an older car and notice that other newer cars on the road with automatic lights have their lights on, this is a good indication that it’s time to switch yours on too. A good rule of thumb is to turn them on one hour before sunset and leave them on one hour after sunrise for maximum safety.
- Make sure your air conditioning is in working order. The heat of the summer months may make you drowsy and air conditioning will help. Likewise, if your AC is too cold, it’s distracting. Find a good balance.
- More animals are out on the roads in the spring and summer months. Keep a look out and be cautious.
- Make sure your headlights are aimed properly at the road ahead to maximize visibility and avoid blinding oncoming drivers.
- At night, your dashboard lights should be only lightly illuminated as they may be distracting to the driver.
Follow these few common sense tips and your driving during these longer days will be safer and less stressful.