How Not To Become A Statistic On The Road After Dark – Tips To Improve Safety
Some of the most witty stickers are found on bumpers. But the one that probably takes the cake is this by Marc Andreessen – “Google is working on self driving cars, and they seem to work.
People are so bad at driving cars that computers don’t have to be that good to be much better”.
A very profound statement, though not entirely true, gives us something to think about. Yes, the statistics on accidents can sometimes take the fun out of driving at night.
Many drivers love to drive, but cringe at the mere mention of night driving. And this has got nothing to do with driving skills. It has got to do with a combination of contributing reasons in nighttime driving that sucks the confidence out of many drivers.
A Forbes report has documented the risks with nighttime driving. 49% of fatal crashes occur at night. This may appear somewhat leveled because it is less than one half.
But, when compared with the total miles covered in a day, the statistics show that accidents in the night are thrice the number of what occurs in the day. This means that nights are not the safest.
Having said that, it is just not possible to stop driving at night. It is possible to fit into the other side of the statistics – the people who managed to stay out of harms way, out of accidents.
Yes, you can turn driving after dark into a safer commute, with a few precautions. And hey, if you are drunk and intend to take the wheels, these tips may not really help, so begin with an alcohol free drive to reach your destination safely.
SOME COCKTAILS ARE DEADLY
Teenagers are typically considered a little reckless, and while it is wrong to stereotype all teenagers, there is a little merit in some sweeping observations.
Teenagers are typically considered a little reckless, and while it is wrong to stereotype all teenagers, there is a little merit in some sweeping observations. Let’s look at some some statistics – a whopping 58 percent of teen nighttime crashes occur between 9 p.m and midnight. Anything noteworthy here?
YES. Teens are known to party hard and slip behind the wheels for a late night spin, and concentration is alien territory when the driver is drunk, with equally drunk peers egging him on to floor the pedal. Yes, the night is young for many, and for the unfortunate few who meet with tragic accidents, they may never see another night. States that have in place nighttime driving restrictions for teens have seen significant reduction – to the tune of 60%. Similar, self-restrictions exercised by vehicle owners, will certainly make driving a lot safer for road users.
FIGHTING MOMENTARY DISORIENTATION FROM GLARE
More often than not, many drivers swear at oncoming lights – mind you, it is not the vehicle or the driver, but the lights that trigger curses.
The glare from approaching car headlights can disorient a person sufficiently long enough on a high speed drive to make him or her veer off course. While nothing can be done about the elevation of lights of those vehicles and the insensitivity of drivers, it is possible to lessen the effects we experience.
To start with, the windshield needs to be cleaned properly – insides as well as outside. If you do not happen to have a proper heater, then condensation as a result of air-conditioning can add to your woes. Never use your hands to clear or clean the windshield. Use recommended material to clean windshields. This will cut down the glare.
RIGHT GLASSES TO AVOID THE KALEIDOSCOPE EFFECT
If you fancy a pair of glasses that looked good on someone in an ad, you better use it elsewhere and never as night driving glasses.
You may not exactly enjoy the prospect of getting a diffused light theme playing around your eyes or a kaleidoscope effect creating panic, all because of a wrong choice of nighttime driving glasses.
Choose the right pair of glasses for night driving, preferably ARC, and definitely prescription glasses. And talking about glasses, it is always a good idea to use prescription sunglasses, and not just a pair of shades that sport a fancy frame. The best driving glasses are those that allow the right amount of light to stream past them, while preventing light reflections from dancing across the lens.
CUT THROUGH THE DARKNESS WITH ADEQUATE LIGHTING
Keep your lights in good condition, replace lens covers if you find them dulling out. Remember, it is the little things that actually count.
Road accidents often occur more after sunset in the darkness. The onus lies on us to find out ways and means to avoid serious and fatal road accidents in the night. Here are some proven and time tested driving tips which could enhance road safety by quite a few notches. Many factors like car battery ratings also could impact road safety
Many drivers are content with settings on light elevation, settling for a compromise by adjusting the way they drive. This will not work. Because when you drive through traffic moving at high speed, all it takes is a little gap in lighting for a serious crash. Remember, your height, the distance you can see with or without corrected vision, the throw of the light, and the speed determine your vision-coordination and control over the car.
A replacement in time can save you a lot of troubles. With the right night vision glasses for driving and the right kind of light leading you through the night, you will be a lot safer.
If you happen to suddenly come across an intersection, your speed, the lack of adequate lighting and the possible lag of the app may cause you to overshoot or take a wrong turn. You would remain fixated on the app for re-routing instructions and may not be fully aware of the movement behind you or ahead of you.
This is where mistakes occur. Choose the best apps while driving. Ideally, you need one that is cluttered and one that does not require too many inputs midway. You need an app where you input the destination and keep going. Not being distracted during driving at night can greatly reduce errors. Choose one that has a soothing color theme with the right visuals.
GOOD VISION TO UNDERSTAND POOR REFLEXES WITH ADVANCING AGE
As people age, failing vision offers lesser and slower inputs to individuals, resulting in poor reflexes. This is one of the reasons why the number of crashes are on the higher side when cars are driven by aged people.
The first casualty of age is reflexes. Driving requires an acute awareness of traffic, sharper reflexes and heightened attention. And this requirement increases as the sun goes down.
Keeping the figures low demands either self regulation on the part of car owners, or better vision enhancement or correction among elders who take to the roads. It is of paramount importance that the aged use the right glasses while driving; this will help overcome to some extent the decline in vision and the number of accidents arising out of this. While, as an user, you may not find it possible to take on the lack of regulation, you could start off by controlling the use of vehicles by elders at night.
COMMON HUMAN ERRORS THAT LEAD TO ACCIDENTS
Human is a statue of mistakes. A human makes many mistakes while driving. Given below are some of the common human errors which that lead to accidents.
- Distraction by an occupant or device
- Disorientation and glare from oncoming traffic
- Unaware of speed or proximity of vehicles in the vicinity
- Poor vision, incorrect choice of glasses for driving
- Wrong choice of navigation app
- Wrong handling or maintenance of windshield and ORVMs
- Poor co-ordination with turn-by-turn navigation assistance
- Ignoring the need for wearing a seat belt
Many accidents have caused injuries because of non-deployment of air bags that failed to trigger because seat belts were not worn. While the march of technology will keep coming up with safer and more innovative technology or accessories, it is important that the features are put to use. Having a seat belt and not wearing one, does not add to the safety of occupants. One of the most important aspects that every driver needs to bear in mind, is the need to get the right visual inputs during driving.
Driving is more of maneuvering or negotiating on the basis of visual inputs. Therefore, vision is of paramount importance. Ensure that you get to see the road ahead and the traffic around you more clearly. This will also give you just about time to avert mishaps if you get to notice the errors of other drivers, in time. Get the visuals right, and you are almost there.