Fall is here, which means daylight is dwindling. That means it’s likely the sun will be setting, if there at all, during your commute home for work, while it’s brighter than normal in the early morning. Be sure you and your vehicle are ready for this transition with these tips from VIP European Auto Interiors.
Tips for Driving At Night
Dirty windshields may only be an annoyance during the day, but at night, they can severely hinder your already affected view. But it’s not only during the night that you have to worry.
When the sun is rising or bright in your eyes, the grime can cause a glare that may blind you or other drivers if not taken care of. So it’s important to clean your windshield both inside and out regularly.
Check Your Lights
In the dark, nothing is more important than your ability to see and other driver’s ability to see you. Ensure your headlights and taillights are working, that they are aimed properly, and your turn signals are in good working order.
To help increase your safety and that of others, we suggest turning on your headlights as early as an hour before sundown.
Don’t Look Into the Light
On that same thread, to prevent temporary blindness or glares, try to not to look directly into the lights of oncoming traffic. In the dark, it’s tough to not focus on the beacons of lights in front, behind, and coming at you. Do your best to avoid this: you can still safely drive by pointing your gaze down and to the right, while focusing on the white line.
Increase Distance and Reduce Speed
We’ve all heard this tip since before but it is the best tip for keeping you and others safe on the road. When you’re in a situation that you’re not comfortable, don’t have full visibility or control, always reduce your speed and put more distance between you and the driver in front of you. Ignore anyone tailgating behind you (or better yet, let them pass), and stay calm and safe as you’re driving.
Use your headlights to help you gauge your distance and stopping time. If you can’t stop within the illuminated area you’re too close! Another way to gauge your distance is by using the 3-second rule: as the vehicle in front of you passed a designated landmark along the road (a tree, a construction barrel, etc.), there should be at least a 3-second gap before you reach the same area. If it takes less than 3 seconds to catch up, slow down!
We all know the desire to get home as quickly as possible, but just take your time to ensure that you do get home.
Increase Your Chance of Being Seen on the Side of the Road
If you need to pull over, you’re going to want to do everything possible to increase your chances of being seen on the side of the road. Keep your car running and headlights on, if you can, and keep reflective triangles in your trunk. Remember to turn on your hazard lights as well.
Remember: do not stand on the side of the road. The safest place to wait for help is inside your car.
Don’t Drive Distracted
Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous things you can do behind the wheel. It can be as simple as texting, changing the radio station, searching for a song, grabbing a bite to eat, or looking over to talk with a passenger — all of it is distracted driving. In fact, the National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year and 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States are caused by texting and driving.
It’s not just the hefty fines that make distracted driving risky business. When you’re tired after a long day at work, your reaction times will be reduced. Taking your full attention off the road is a bad idea.
Watch for Pedestrians
If you’re driving at night or with a glare, it’s harder to see others on the road and on the side of it. Keep a keen eye out for pedestrians, as not all of them wear reflective gear. Always take extra time to watch for pedestrians, especially on poorly-lit roads or in a neighborhood. If you’re at an intersection, be sure to look both ways before you make your move to ensure no one is stepping off the curb.
Tips For Driving in the Bright Morning
Outside of the obvious tips, such as wearing sunglasses and putting the visor down, there are a couple of other things you can do to help reduce glare and improve your visibility.
Have your vehicle’s windows tinted. A tint is applied by placing a thin dark plastic film over your windows that blocks some sun rays from entering your vehicle. They also help keep your car cool during the day. Window tinting is common practice in Arizona and most repair shops will be able to refer you to someone who can do it to your vehicle.
Finally, ensure everything inside of your car is up to par: a hot steering wheel or cracked drive shaft may cause unforeseen problems. If you’re looking to swap them out, give us a call at VIP European Auto. Our expert technicians take great pride in customizing your vehicle’s interior to make it as stylish and safe as it can be.