Think you’re a top-notch nighttime driver? Take this quiz to find out just how well you’re doing.
How often do you drive when sleepy or tired?
- I would never.
- On a regular basis.
When was the last time you had an eye exam?
- Less than a year ago.
- 1-2 years ago.
- 3-4 years ago.
- It’s been more than 4 years.
Are your headlights in good working order?
- Yes. They’re correctly adjusted and bulbs have been replaced recently.
- They seem bright enough to illuminate the road.
- They passed inspection, so they’re okay, right?
- They’re kind of dim/damaged.
How long has it been since you polished your windshield and mirrors?
- I regularly clean my windshield and mirrors, both inside and out.
- Eh, the outside of my windshield is clean, and my mirrors get washed semi-regularly.
- I have fresh wiper fluid that I run on occasion. Does that count?
- I haven’t washed my windshield or mirrors lately. Is that really a thing?
If you answered mostly A’s, congrats! You’re taking careful precautions to make sure you’re set up for success when you hit the road at night.
If you answered mostly B’s, you’re on the right track for sure–you might just need to be a little more diligent about some aspects of your car-care and self-care routines.
If you answered mostly C’s, you’re probably about average, but there’s a lot you could improve.
If you answered mostly D’s… there’s no shame in that, but you need to take a few concrete steps before you do much more nighttime driving.
Critical Steps for Safe Nighttime Driving
These steps will help you improve your nighttime driving game and keep you–and everyone else on the road with you!–significantly safer. If you got all A’s on the quiz above, you can probably skip right over this. Otherwise, read carefully!
- Give your headlights a tune-up every time you tune-up your car. Older incandescent bulbs don’t shine as brightly as new ones (even if they still work), so double-check that they’re bright enough. Buy a polishing kit to de-fog old, dull-looking headlight covers. And make sure your headlights are adjusted correctly so they illuminate the road without blinding the drivers in oncoming traffic.
- Get an eye exam every year. Making sure you have a current prescription for eyeglasses or contacts will go a long way toward keeping you safe on the road. If you wear eyeglasses, spring for the anti-reflective coating that cuts down on glare and make sure your glasses are scrupulously clean before driving in low light.
- Polish your mirrors and clean your windshield both inside and out. Streaks that are invisible in the daylight become a much bigger deal at night. When it’s dark, the glare from streetlights and other traffic emphasizes any residue or streaks and distorts your ability to see. While you’re at it, adjust your external side-view mirrors downward just a tad more than you normally would; this still allows you to see what’s behind you, but it keeps most blindingly-bright headlights out of your field of vision.
- Don’t drive tired. Studies have shown that sleep-deprived driving is just as dangerous as driving under the influence. The benefits don’t outweigh the risks.
- Don’t drive distracted. Silence your phone or put it on Do Not Disturb mode, and toss it in the backseat. Don’t eat or try to accomplish anything else while driving. If you tend to be bored, listen to an audiobook, podcast, or your favorite music instead.