Winter brings with it a whole host of problems, from the risk of frostbite to an increase in ice-related slips and falls. But one hazard that’s often overlooked has nothing to do with freezing temperatures.
It goes without saying that as the days get shorter and the nights get longer, the more people have to drive in the dark—and that can be a deadly problem because driving when the sun is down elevates the chances of a fatality on the road. According to the National Safety Council, “While we do only one quarter of our driving at night, 50 percent of traffic deaths happen at night.”
Avoid the dangers of driving at night by taking the following steps:
- ensure front and rear lights are in good working order
- recognize when you’re fatigued
- avoid distraction when driving
- minimize driving in the dark
- teach teen drivers to be aware of the risk of evening driving
- learn to avoid distraction when driving
You may have less reaction time at night, as you might not see a hazard until it’s illuminated by your headlights, so reduced speeds may also be in order.
With less light and reduced sightlines in the winter, it is especially important to keep your eyes and mind focused on what you’re doing. We can’t control the length of the days, but we can control ourselves. By learning to recognize the human factors that can lead to motor vehicle crashes and other incidents, we can concentrate on the task at hand and reduce the risk of driving at night.