Night driving is a big part of driving a truck, especially if you’re a long haul driver or you make early, before-sun-rises deliveries. Having fewer vehicles out on the road is a definite plus but there are many dangers that can come with driving at night.
Dangers of Night Driving
Unfortunately, humans are not like cats and we don’t have night vision. We can’t see as far at night as we can during the day which means we may not see an animal like a deer run out onto the road which is more common at night. Add to that a slower response time and you’ve got an increased potential for an accident. Even a mild rainstorm at night can decrease visibility significantly.
If you’re someone who doesn’t drive the same night route every day, your body will be tired when you’re driving at night. It takes some time for your body to get on the natural sleep rhythm of being awake at night.
Deliveries are More Dangerous
Night also brings with it an increase in criminal activity and the threat of being robbed for your money or freight is a real danger.
More Drunk Drivers
If you’ve driven a semi at night for any length of time, you’ve seen your fair share of drunk drivers on the road. It’s important to be extra alert and aware of other drivers who may be impaired.
Night Driving Can Be a Pleasure
Dangers aside, driving at night is preferable for some drivers. They’ve pretty much got the road to themselves and don’t have to worry about traffic slowing them down. While parking at night for over the road drivers is a constant challenge if you are doing deliveries in a city, it’s much easier to maneuver a truck through empty streets. Road construction activity is usually at a minimum, and if there is nighttime road work, drivers usually breeze right through because there are fewer vehicles on the road. And even with lower visibility, the views from the road at night can be breathtaking.
Tips for Safe Night Driving
If you’re driving at night, here are a few things you can do to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road.
- Get enough sleep. Try to get yourself on a regular daytime sleep schedule if you’re going to be driving a nighttime truck route. Drowsy driving is a major problem in the trucking industry that leads to many fatal accidents. Some tips on how to stay alert while driving can be found here.
- Increase visibility. Make sure that your headlights are all in working order including high beams and that they’re not dirty. Also, clean your windshield and dim your dashboard lights to improve your visibility. Keep up with regular eye exams to make sure your eyes are doing the best job they can.
- Stay alert. Don’t use your phone while driving or do anything else to distract you from being able to keep a close eye out for animals or drunk drivers.
- Use your high beams. Instead of only using low beams when there is oncoming traffic, some drivers will just drive with their low beams on all the time. High beams allow you to see further and you should use them when you can.
- Look away from the lights. Staring right into the headlights of oncoming traffic can be distracting and impairing. Look at the lines of the road instead.
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