Night Driving

A significant hazard associated with winter driving is shortened daylight hours resulting in increased night time driving. Whatever the season, night driving is always more treacherous than daylight driving. The sobering statistic is that while only 25% of the miles we drive are at night, about 50% of the fatalities occur in the darkness—25,000 people each year.

Driving is more hazardous at night time due to restricted visibility. Drivers must reduce their speed and increase following distance to compensate. Night speed should not be greater than that which will permit the vehicle to come to a stop within the forward distance illuminated by the vehicle’s headlights. Never "over-drive" or "out-distance" your headlights. Normal headlight range for most vehicles is about 150’ (low beam) and 350’ (high beam). Total stopping distance for a commercial vehicle travelling at highway speed in ideal conditions is > 425’. Logic dictates reduced speed when driving at night.

Ensure all lighting, signals and reflectors are in good condition. While inspecting your vehicle, carry a rag with you to wipe lights, signals, reflectors and reflective sheeting clean and improve visibility of your rig. No matter how big your truck is, it might as well be invisible if other motorists and pedestrians cannot see it or distinguish it at night.

When pulling out onto or across a roadway at night, wait until there is no traffic present and you cannot see the glow of oncoming headlights. If there is a blind curve in either direction, solicit assistance from someone who, while standing back from the berm near the blind curve, can watch for oncoming traffic before you pull out. You will probably not be able to see the guide so you will need to establish two way contact via cell phone or other unique visible or audible signal that cannot be confused with that of an oncoming motorist.

As you pull out, never flash hi-beams on/off at oncoming motorists as they may experience temporary loss of night vision and be unable to see the hazard that they are being warned against. In addition, since they cannot see the hazard, they assume that they are being told to dim their lights, and do not perceive the flashing lights as a warning. To warn other motorists, drivers should sound their horn or quickly turn their lights off/on. Never flash your bright lights at oncoming traffic.