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2.11 – Driving at Night

2.11.1 – Is Driving At Night More Dangerous?

You are at greater risk when you drive at night. Drivers cannot see hazards as quickly as in daylight, so they have less time to respond. Drivers caught by surprise are less able to avoid a crash. The problems of night driving involve the driver, roadway and vehicle.

2.11.2 – Driver Factors

Vision. People cannot see as sharply at night or in dim light. Also, their eyes need time to adjust to seeing in dim light. Most people have noticed this when walking into a dark movie theater.

Glare. Drivers can be blinded for a short time by bright light. It takes time to recover from this blindness. Older drivers are especially bothered by glare. Most people have been temporarily blinded by camera flash units or by the high beams of an oncoming vehicle. It can take several seconds to recover from glare. Even two seconds of glare blindness can be dangerous. A vehicle going 55 mph will travel more than half the distance of a football field during that time. Do not look directly at bright lights when driving. Look at the right side of the road. Watch the sidelines when someone coming toward you has very bright lights on.

Fatigue and Lack of Alertness. Fatigue (being tired) and lack of alertness are bigger problems at night. The body's need for sleep is beyond a person's control. Most people are less alert at night, especially after midnight. This is particularly true if you have been driving for a long time. Drivers may not see hazards as soon or react as quickly, so the chance of a crash is greater. If you are sleepy, the only safe cure is to get off the road and get some sleep. If you do not, you risk your life and the lives of others.

2.11.3 – Roadway Factors

Poor Lighting. In the daytime, there is usually enough light to see well. This is not true at night. Some areas may have bright street lights, but many areas will have poor lighting. On most roads you will probably have to depend entirely on your headlights.

Less light means you will not be able to see hazards as well as in daytime. Road users who do not have lights are hard to see. There are many accidents at night involving pedestrians, joggers, bicyclists and animals. Even when there are lights, the road scene can be confusing. Traffic signals and hazards can be hard to see against a background of signs, shop windows and other lights.

Drive slower when lighting is poor or confusing. Drive slow enough to be sure you can stop in the distance you can see ahead.

Drunk Drivers. Drunk drivers and drivers under the influence of drugs are a hazard to themselves and to you. Be especially alert around the closing times for bars and taverns. Watch for drivers who have trouble staying in their lane or maintaining speed, stop without reason or show other signs of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Multiple-Choice Questions:

Question #116 (1 of 1)

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If you are sleepy, what is the only safe cure?

  • Get off the road and get some sleep.
  • Roll the window down to get some fresh air
  • A nice big cup of coffee
  • Turn on the radio and sing along
If you are sleepy, the only safe cure is to get off the road and get some sleep.
People try all kinds of crazy stuff to stay awake, but the only real cure is to get some sleep. Even a quick nap can make a big difference.
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