Driving after dark has its dangers. Keep these five safety tips in mind to reduce risk for all road users.
Make sure your lights are on
People driving with their lights off is a huge problem according to Sean Shapiro, police constable with Toronto Traffic Safety. “In our reliance on technology, there’s the assumption that your car will automatically activate the headlights,” he says, “but the lights may not be on—making you what I call a ghost car.”
Often the lower volume of traffic on the road at night creates a false sense of security, making drivers feel like they can be less attentive. “People tend to go a little faster because it can appear like you have the open road,” Shapiro says. “But the faster you’re going, the less response time you have. Damage, injury and the chance of death increase with that speed.” Notably, the rate of fatalities reported to Toronto Police Services during the nighttime hours is 142 percent higher than during the day.
Expect the unexpected
pedestrians in dark clothing and wildlife on the road. “Very often at night, drivers are tired and not paying attention,” Shapiro says. “So you’re not anticipating that kid playing ball on the street or the pedestrian crossing in front of you.”
Remember you can’t see as far ahead at night. “If you’re driving beyond your headlights in very dark areas,” Shapiro says, “you can’t see what you’re driving into. This is an obvious recipe for a collision.”
Clear line of vision
A clean windshield and headlights will help you see better. Make sure your headlights are aligned properly to the road, and use your high beams only when necessary. Keep interior lights low so the dash is visible but not distracting when you look at it. Avoid looking into oncoming headlights and, if possible, don’t drive on two-lane highways, which are the worst for nighttime glare.
Help at your fingertips
Request roadside assistance directly from the CAA Mobile App™. You can track your service call in real time and stay up to date on Member-exclusive offers. Visit caaneo.ca/app to download the app for Android and Apple devices.