Driving safely at night: Good tips to follow

With the approach of winter, the nights are growing increasingly longer, and more and more people find themselves driving to work in the dark and driving back home in the dark.

It's just a wise decision to refresh your memory with a few reminders about what it takes to stay safe while driving in the dark. Here are some good tips to follow now that winter is upon you:

1. Check your light covers

If your car has a few years on it, the plastic lens covers may have yellowed. That will reduce your visibility on the road. Buy a headlight polish kit and get rid of the haze on your covers so that your lights make the road ahead pretty clear. Even newer cars can end up with grime on their headlight covers, so make sure that you occasionally clean them off.

2. Turn your lights on as soon as you start the car.

Having your headlights on doesn't just make the road clearer -- it makes your car more visible to others. Cars in neutral or dark colors can easily blend into a winter landscape. If you get in the habit of turning your lights on the moment you start your car, you'll always have that added bit of protection.

3. Practice defensive driving

This is always a good idea -- but it's especially wise at night. Slow down, keep some extra distance between you and the cars in front of you and make sure that you're constantly checking your mirrors for other vehicles. In particular, be cautious on residential streets where someone might decide to cross in front of you. It can be difficult to spot pedestrians in the dark.

5. Don't drive when you're tired

If you aren't awake enough to drive, don't get behind the wheel. If you're yawning, find yourself nodding off, are rubbing your eyes or making foolish mistakes, pull over and take a nap before you set back out on the road. It's better to be late than to be in an accident.

No matter what you do, you may still end up in an accident due to another driver's negligence. If so, make sure that you find out more about your legal rights, especially if you're injured.

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