Winter driving is always accompanied by the possibility of driving in darkness. Whether you commute in the early or later hours of the day or drive frequently, the chances of driving before or after the sun is up are likely from November to March.
For those frequently driving on rural roads, driving in the dark can be risky. Rural roads across Kentucky can have little light, a lack of barriers and more difficult terrain to navigate.
The risk of an accident is greater in the dark
According to the National Safety Council, the risk of a fatal accident is three times greater when driving at night. Darkness, fatigue, the possibility of distracted drivers and more all contribute to the increased chances of a crash.
Taking extra safety precautions
Keeping a few safety precautions in mind can help keep you and other drivers safe:
- Utilize your headlights correctly. Make sure your headlights are clean and functional. Be courteous to other drivers and only use your high-beam headlights when there are no oncoming vehicles or vehicles ahead of you in sight.
- Be cautious of other lights. As your eyes adjust to the darkness outside, you may be sensitive to other bright lights that can impair your vision. Dim your dashboard and avoid looking directly into the headlights of oncoming traffic.
- Avoid fatigued driving. Fatigued driving is a risk at any time but especially risky at night. 37 percent of drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel. Stay alert, pull over if necessary and avoid driving when you feel it is unsafe.
- Slow down. It can be tempting to speed on roads with little traffic around you. However, limiting your speed can allow for crucial reaction time in wintry conditions or if an animal, farm vehicle or pedestrian suddenly enters the road.
- Stay aware of your surroundings. Breaking down or being involved in an accident can be challenging on country roads. Be aware of markers around you to reference your location in an emergency, such as a nearby road sign, your miles driven since leaving town or another unique marker.
Safe driving can prevent an accident
Of the 37,461 motor vehicle accidents that occurred across the country in 2016, 50 percent of them occurred on rural roads. Whether you drive on country roads every day or sporadically, practicing these safe driving tips and more can help prevent a serious accident.