Driving is the most convenient way to get to and from work, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a little scary. That’s especially the case if you have to drive home from work at the end of the day in the dark.
For some, driving home in the dark is the norm all year long as you might work long or untraditional hours. For others, it may simply be the case that as the sun sets earlier and earlier, you find yourself driving home in the dark in the winter when you were driving home during daylight in the summer.
No matter what your occupation or why you find yourself behind the wheel after the sun goes down, these tips will help keep you safe so you can get home unscathed.
Be on the Lookout for Drunk Drivers
If you have to drive home at night, especially after midnight, you definitely have to be on the lookout for drunk drivers. Your attention should also be heightened if you drive home after midnight on Friday or Saturday night, although even weeknights have their fair share of drunk drivers.
Shocking drunk driving statistics include the fact that 45 percent of men and 35 percent of women admit to drunk driving, which means you’re likely to meet at least one on the road when driving around at night.
If you see who you believe to be a drunk driver, put as much distance between yourself and that driver as you can. If you can safely pull over, you should consider reporting the driver to the police.
Drive With Extra Caution
Whether you’re worried about drunk drivers or not, you should always drive with extra caution when you’re behind the wheel at night. That means being a better defensive driver.
Defensive driving simply means that you are aware of the fact that the road can be a dangerous place, so you look for ways to increase your safety and the safety of those around you. In order to be a better defensive driver, you should do things like:
- Keep your eyes on the road ahead of you
- Know your vehicle, how to drive it, and your car’s safety features
- Don’t follow other cars too closely
- Don’t speed
- Accelerate smoothly
- Don’t slam on the brakes
Keep Yourself Awake
If you’re driving home after a long day at work, you’re likely to be tired. If the sun has gone down, you may find yourself more drowsy than usual. It’s important to stay awake and alert behind the wheel.
That might include carpooling with others at work so you have someone to talk to, drinking caffeine before you leave work at the end of the day, and making sure you get seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
If you just can’t keep your eyes open, it’s best not to drive. Consider asking a coworker to take you home, take public transit, or take a power nap before you hit the road.
Keep Headlights and the Windshield Clean and Damage-Free
Glare is a huge problem when driving at night. It can cause momentary blindness while you’re driving, which can cause you to crash into another vehicle or veer off the road.
There are things you can do to reduce glare, but the best is to keep your headlights and windshield clean. Scrub those bug guts off of your windshield and get rid of mud splatter on your headlights so you can see clearly while you’re driving.
You should also keep your windshield and headlights damage-free. Repair any cracks in your glass and replace burnt out light bulbs quickly.
Be Careful Where You Park and Where You Stop
You have to be careful when you’re actually driving your car, but you also have to be careful getting to and from your car.
It’s important to think carefully when parking your vehicle. Practice parking lot safety by parking your car in a well-lit area and never use your phone while walking to your car, as it can demonstrate to potential criminals that you’re distracted.
You should also be thoughtful about where you stop every day on your way home. Choose busy gas stations over empty ones, and return to the same spots so the people behind the counter can get to know you, should something terrible happen.
Driving home at night can be scary, but there are things you can do to make it safer. With these tips, you can worry less so you can get home and relax after work.