.| On the road | Night time driving safety


Night Time Driving Safety

According to the National Safety Council, the number of traffic deaths is three times greater at night than during the day. Many people are not cognizant of the special hazards associated with night driving. Since ninety percent of a driver's reaction depends on vision, it is extremely important drivers make an effort to learn more about driving safely after dark.

First, it's critical to understand how age affects our night vision. As we age, our eyes require more light to see clearly. In fact, a 50-year-old may need twice as much light to see as well as a 30-year-old.

Another difference occurs with regard to light tolerance. Older eyes are more easily blinded with less light. It takes up to eight times longer for a senior's eyes to adjust after having been blinded by oncoming traffic lights than it does for a younger person's.

Listed below are tips to help you drive safely after dark:


Confirm all lights are in working order-

Have someone walk around your RV before departure each morning to make sure all the lights are in working order. It is especially important to check the lights on towing and towed vehicles as well. When traveling at night, occasionally check all the lights on your vehicles.

Keep lights clean-

Clean headlights, taillights, signal lights and windows once a week, and more often if necessary. Your ability to see ahead is greatly reduced if your light lenses are dirty. Also, remember that if the lens is covered with debris, the lights will be less effective.

Don't overdrive your headlights-

Overdriving headlights is one of the most common faults associated with night driving. At 55 miles per hour it takes about 285 feet to stop a car-stopping an RV takes even longer. Your high beam headlights only illuminate an area approximately 250 in front of you, which means an obstruction ahead may not yet be visible, but could be unavoidable because of the stopping distance required.

Dim headlights-

The generally accepted rule is that you should dim your headlights about 500 feet from an approaching vehicle. When overtaking a vehicle, dim your lights when you are within 250 feet of it. Common sense dictates that you dim your high beams when they start to catch up with the vehicle in front of you.

Halogen bulbs-

Consider replacing your regular headlights with halogen bulbs. Halogen lights enable you to see farther because they are brighter. Keep in mind, though, they tend to have a narrower field of view. They also blind oncoming drivers sooner, so you should switch to low beams a little earlier than with standard bulbs.

Use a day/night mirror-

In motorhomes with a rear window and in automobiles, using a day/night mirror greatly lessens your chance of being blinded by a vehicle with high beams approaching from behind.

Keep headlights accurately aimed-

If other drivers are flashing their lights at you frequently when your lights are on low beam, it's a sign they are not adjusted correctly. Another sign of improperly adjusted headlights is when you cannot see the full road with your lights on high or low beam.

Check to see if your lights are correctly adjusted by pulling within 20 feet of a flat vertical surface, such as a wall. Get out of the driver's seat and, from a center position inside the coach, check the following:

  • Do the main beams of both headlights hit at the same height?
  • Are both headlights pointing straight ahead?

Some manufacturers adjust the lights so the left beam points slightly to the right to keep from blinding oncoming drivers. That's okay. If only one light is out of adjustment, you may be able to manually adjust it to the correct position. If both headlights are out of adjustment, take it to an RV or truck dealer and have them professionally adjusted. Properly adjusted lights are too critical to the safe operation of your coach to do without.

Oncoming lights-

If an oncoming driver's lights blind you, look to the right edge of the road, not directly at the lights. Flash your high beams one time, unless doing so is prohibited by law. Sometimes drivers forget they have their brights on. Do not retaliate by switching to your high beams-this can cause an accident or trigger road rage in the other driver.

Avoid driving while smoking and under the influence of alcohol-

Smoke's nicotine and carbon monoxide hamper night vision, making you more susceptible to having an accident. Drinking and driving is not only illegal, it's extremely dangerous. Just one alcoholic drink can induce fatigue and severely impair your driving ability. Alcohol is a leading factor in fatal traffic accidents and plays a part in about half of all motor vehicle-related deaths.

The National Safety Council recommends drivers observe night driving safety as soon as the sun goes down. Twilight is one of the most difficult times to drive because your eyes are constantly changing to adapt to the growing darkness. Due to the additional risk created by aging eyes, we strongly recommend you follow the night driving tips to help reduce your chance of having a driving accident.




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