When the sun goes down, the potential for bad things to happen increases. According to my mother, “Nothing good happens after dark.” I think she was lecturing me when she said that. But traffic deaths are three times greater at night than during the daytime, according to the National Safety Council. In addition, nighttime driving is the single biggest risk factor for teen car crashes. It’s more difficult to judge other vehicle’s speeds and distances at night. 90% of a driver’s reaction depends upon vision. And vision is severely limited at night. They say that’s also why you end up bringing home ugly women. After the sun goes down, depth perception, color recognition and peripheral vision are also compromised. That’s why I sometimes leave the house with socks that don’t match. Or, at least that’s my excuse.
Another danger of nighttime driving is fatigue. Some states have laws that make the penalties of driving while fatigued equivalent to driving while intoxicated. It’s all about responsibility, not only for your life but for others around you. I have taken many road trips at night for several good reasons. It’s cooler at night, which keeps your engine cooler. There are less people on the road which means less traffic. And, you can drive topless…truck drivers love that. Always make sure you don’t overdrive your headlights. That means you should be able to stop inside the illuminated area ahead of your car. Keep your headlights and windshield clean. This will also help with visibility for both you and the truck drivers’ view into your car.
Drive the speed limit so you will have better reaction time if a night critter crosses your path. Most road kill animals come out at night. Some go onto the road to warm themselves on the asphalt. While others just go on the road to mess with you. Never swerve for an animal. If it’s a large animal, try to avoid hitting it head-on by sideswiping it. This way it won’t become a hood ornament or end up on your lap…that would be on YouTube forever. And, whatever you do, don’t pick up hitchhikers like “Large Marge” or “Bigfoot.” They never pitch in for gas. There are “cheap” mythical creatures out there too, you know.
And, if your car happens to break down at night, try to either get your car off of the freeway, or, if you are broken down on the shoulder, turn on your signal light as if you are going to be re-entering the freeway. Don’t turn on your hazard lights. Drunk drivers are attracted to flashing lights…much like how blondes are attracted to shiny objects (diamonds, should anyone ask).
Until next week…
Comedienne / Writer / Artist / Night Driver
Nighttime Driving – Comedy Defensive Driving