A little extra caution can go a long way while driving at night
Summer has ended, and while fall and winter have their own pleasures — including football, hunting and skiing — the season changes also bring changes to the amount of daylight. Longer nights mean increased danger on the roads.
You might think you drive just as well at night, but consider this: Even though nighttime driving accounts for just 23% of vehicle miles traveled, more than 50% of fatalities for vehicle occupants 16 and older occur between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., according to the National Safety Commission (NSC).
So, why is night driving more dangerous? What can drivers do to decrease the danger and be safer on the roads at night? Together with one of our trusted insurance carriers (Safeco Insurance), our team at Kuespert Insurance thought it would be helpful to review some tips about nighttime driving in Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington.
What’s dangerous about night driving?
- Decreased vision. Different parts of the eye (such as iris, pupil and retina) work differently at night. Your peripheral vision is actually slightly improved, but it’s more difficult to focus on objects ahead of you. And traveling between well-lit areas and darker roads creates issues as well.
- Driving too fast for your headlights. Depending on vehicle speed and headlight setting, many people “over-drive” their headlights. That means, by the time they see something on the road, it’s too late to stop in time to avoid it.
- Impaired judgment. Whether due to drowsiness or the use of alcohol or drugs, it appears that drivers at night often don’t use good judgment. According to the NSC, 66% of fatalities at night involve vehicle occupants who weren’t wearing seat belts.
- Wildlife crossings. In Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington we are blessed with beautiful wildlife and wonderful forest surroundings. While it's a rush to see beautiful big game out on the hunting grounds; it's dangerous to encounter deer, elk, moose or other wildlife on a dark local highway! Be on the lookout for areas where animals might cross and use extra caution on these roads.
So what do we do?
Sometimes, there’s no way around driving at night. So here are some tips to help you make a safe trip — whether you’re just running to the store, or you’re headed out for a longer autumn or winter road trip:
- Make sure your vehicle’s lights are in good working condition. And not just headlights, but turn signals, taillights, etc.
- Avoid speeding. Leave a bigger cushion between you and other cars than you would during daylight hours. Leave yourself more time for the trip.
- Be more aware of your surroundings. You shouldn’t be using your phone, messing around with the radio or trying to find something on the floor while you’re on the road anyway — and distractions are even more deadly at night.
Of course, if you’re not comfortable driving at night, the best thing is to avoid it altogether if possible. There’s nothing wrong with asking for a ride from a trusted safe driver or waiting for the sun to come out!
We’re open all day!
When you’re driving around during the day, stop in to our office in your area for a review of your coverage. Don’t want to drive around during those early afternoon dark winter hours? We can help over the phone or e-mail too!
Our knowledgeable, local agents can work with you to make sure you've got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.
For a free insurance review of your current coverage, contact our team in your area:
Kuespert Insurance Agency – Moscow, ID 208-882-0610
Panhandle Insurance – Coeur d’Alene, ID 208-664-9223
Argonne Insurance – Spokane Valley, WA 509-921-6809
We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what's important to you is protected!