Driving in the Dark: Staying Safe

Posted on: September 28th, 2016 by Accurate Auto Body Shop No Comments

driving in the dark The days are gradually becoming shorter and soon we will be driving in the dark. By mid-October, it will be dark around 6:30 here in the Denver Metro Area. Once we jump to standard time in early November, it can be sunset as early as 4:30 in the afternoon. As your collision repair professionals, we know that when we transition to darkness for evening commutes, the accident rates increase dramatically.


At night, the human eye is not able to perceive and judge distances as well as during daylight hours. Add to that glare from headlights and street lights which cause pupils to constantly dilate back and forth, and driving in the dark becomes even more difficult. And, when driving after sunset, when the sky is still lit, can also be dangerous. The light in the sky and the darkness on the road creates a disparity that hampers vision.

Driving in the Dark Tips

Slow Down – This seems like common sense, but driving too fast is the number one reason for traffic accidents. At night your reaction time is slower simply because you cannot see as far down the road. On an average road, going 40 miles per hour only gives you a couple of seconds to react to a road issue by the time your headlights illuminate it. Just easing off the speed will dramatically help increase reaction time and keep you safer.

Increase Your Following Distance – In the same vein of slowing down, at night you have to increase your distance between yourself and the car in front of you. There are a couple of reasons for this. One is that you have more time to avoid running into the car in front of you should they have to suddenly brake or come to a stop. The other reason is the glare from your headlights can distract the driver in front of you, especially if you are driving too close to them. Your headlights can create a dangerous reflective glare that adversely impairs their vision, causing them to hit something in front of them.

Limit High Beams – Using your high beam lights is great when you are on an open road with little to no traffic. But, this also can give you a false sense of security which causes you to drive faster than you should. When you have to shift to low beams because of an oncoming car, the field of view becomes limited. This sudden limiting of the field of view (along with the oncoming headlights) creates vision disparity and loss of depth perception due to sudden pupil adjustments. As a result, if you are driving too fast, you can easily hit something or someone. Also, in inclement weather conditions such as heavy snow or fog, high beams can actually obscure your view due to high reflection.

Use Your Headlights at Dusk – When the sun is setting or low in the sky, the headlights on your car make it easier for other drivers to see you, especially if they are battling the setting sun in their eyes.

Dim your Dashboard – There is a reason cars come with a dimmer switch for your dashboard lights. If you drive with your dashboard light set to maximum, you could be compromising your forward vision as the dashboard lights can create a glare and resulting vision disparity.

How to Use This Information

When it comes to driving in the dark, we want you to be safe. We know from experience that most collisions we deal with come from night driving accidents. If you do find yourself in need of auto collision repair, we are more than happy to help. Our team will get your car looking like new. Give us a call at 303-344-2212 or contact us online.

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