Think of your evening commute home from work. Chances are that the sun was a whole lot brighter in the summer months than it is now in fall. Over the coming weeks, the sun is going to continue setting earlier than it already is. The earlier sunset can affect everything from your mood to your after-work activities, but did you know it affects your safety on the road?
Just 42 percent of non-alcohol-related fatal crashes in Pennsylvania in 2017 happened between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. While this information applies to the entire year and not just the colder months, the sun will have barely risen on your way to the office and begun setting by the time you head home in the evening. That means you will be spending more time driving in the dark, which is riskier than commuting in the daylight.
Staying safe in the dark
Driving in the night or early morning poses many challenges for drivers. The darkness diminishes your visibility, and glare can pose challenges for your eyes to adjust to. These are a few things you can do to increase your chances of a safe commute in the dark:
• Use your headlights. Now is a great time to ensure that all your vehicle’s exterior lights work properly. Your exterior lights like head and taillights help your visibility as well as help other drivers see you. Clean or replace any defective lights.
• Slow down. One of the best things you can do in any situation on the road is to obey posted speed limits and drive only as fast as the conditions allow. Did you know that your visibility at night is only a few hundred feet? Keep this in mind and watch your speed to give yourself time to react to problems in the roadway.
• Limit nighttime driving. Driving home from work is one thing, but persons of 50 years old may want to only drive in the daylight as much as possible. As we get older, our vision deteriorates and certain conditions like cataracts can make nighttime driving more difficult. Glasses wears may want to wear glare-reducing lenses to help.
While driving at night can be more dangerous, it’s sometimes unavoidable, especially if you’re a commuter. By ensuring that your vehicle’s lighting is functioning, monitoring your speed and avoiding night driving if necessary, driving in the dark can be safer.