We often drive at night, whether it be for work or social reasons. Driving a vehicle at night can be dangerous. How dangerous? you may ask. Approximately 40% of road accidents happen in the late afternoon and the evening, according to a publication from the South African Journal of Science. The US-based National Safety Council has stated that the road accident death rates are 3 times higher than during the day. It is recommended that drivers apply extra caution when driving at night due to there being less overall visibility.
What can you do to drive more safely at night?2
With the above information in mind, here are some safety tips that can help South African motorists when driving at night.
Please don’t text and drive or call someone without the use of a hands-free system, which should be strictly followed no matter the time of day. When driving at dusk or night, you may be more tired than usual, which could increase the time it takes for you to react to a dangerous situation on the road.
Motorists may be used to driving a vehicle with a dirty windscreen during the day. However, driving a car with a dirty windscreen at dusk and night could cause a blinding glare from the setting sun or oncoming cars’ headlights.
Pedestrians might be less visible at night, which increases the risk of injuring them with your vehicle. Be especially cautious on poorly lit roads and intersections.
This may seem obvious, but you may not know if your rear lights are working or not. Please make sure that all external vehicle lights are working as they should. Also, ensure that the relevant lighting on the vehicle’s dashboard is working, which shows you your car’s speed and other essential vehicle functions.
This should be avoided at all times of the day. That being said, people often socialise at night, and this could include drinking alcohol. Alcohol consumption can severely limit your ability to drive a car properly. Please also be mindful of potential drunk drivers on the road while you are driving.
You could avoid being temporarily blinded if you avoid looking directly into the headlights of cars that drive towards you on the other side of the road.
Slow down and increase the following distance2
Speeding and tailgating may increase your chances of being involved in an accident on the road. Applying the 3-second rule could help you maintain a safe distance from the car in front of your vehicle. This rule refers to the time it should take you to pass a specific landmark on the road after the car in front of your vehicle has passed the same landmark.
Make sure your car is visible and off the road should you have to stop on the side of the road. Make use of a red reflective triangle and your vehicle’s hazard lights as required.
Please drive safely at all times and be mindful of other road users and pedestrians.
Owning and operating a vehicle carries risks, no matter how we drive. Perhaps consider getting car insurance for added peace of mind? Perhaps consider PMD’s affordable car insurance that comes with unique benefits such as fixed premiums* and a reduce to zero excess*? Safe travels. T’s and C’s apply.
This article was prepared by Eric Sandmann in his personal capacity. The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. The views and opinions in the article should not be attributed to anyone but the author unless expressly stated. Nothing in this article should be relied upon as advice, this publication is presented for informational purposes only. No person should act or refrain from acting in reliance on any information found in this article, without first obtaining proper financial advice from the appropriate professional. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, or completeness, of any information linked from, referred to, or contained in this article. The author reserves the right, to edit and change the content of this article.