Driving school prepares drivers of all ages for being safe while behind the wheel, but unless you schedule some of your driving lessons to take place after dark, you may be a little intimidated about driving at night once you have your license. When you're learning to drive, it's good to have a healthy respect for the dark — but also to not avoid it. Talk to your driving instructor and ask to do some practicing during the evening. Nighttime driving poses some unique challenges compared to driving during the daytime, so here are some safety tips to keep in mind once you hit the road.
Look Away From Oncoming Headlights
When you're driving at night, it can be easy to focus on the headlights of oncoming motorists, especially when you're driving in dark areas without many other sources of lights. The concern with doing so is that after the vehicle passes you, your vision can be temporarily compromised, and you might even see some blotches for a moment. This can put you at risk while driving. Although you shouldn't ignore oncoming vehicles, make sure that you're not staring at their lights. Instead, shift your gaze slightly down and to the right. Some people find it helpful to watch the white line on the right side of their vehicle, as it allows them to maintain the proper lane position without being directly subjected to the oncoming headlights.
Adjust Your Dashboard Lights
Just as oncoming headlights can be bright, distracting and compromise the strength of your vision, bright dashboard lights can have a similar effect. Check for the dashboard light dimmer on your dashboard; it's often located on either side of your steering wheel. Adjusting this knob or wheel will allow you to lower the brightness of the display lights on the dashboard. You'll still be able to see them when they're on a low setting, but they'll pose less of a distraction while you drive.
Be Extra Cautious Around Other Motorists
While it's always important to watch for the movements of other motorists whenever you're driving, this is especially important at night. There are often more drivers under the influence of alcohol out at night, and there's also a heightened risk of other drivers falling asleep behind the wheel. This means that your need for avoiding distractions is even greater, and that you should always know exactly what another driver is doing before you react. For example, don't count on a driver going straight at an intersection, even if he or she hasn't activated the vehicle's turn signal.
For more information, contact American Driving Academy or a similar organization.