no fees unless we win

Suffolk (631) 621-6183

Nassau (516) 240-9904

proudly serving all of long island
Millions recovered in verdicts & settlements for our clients since 1994
click here to requestyour free consultation
click here to requestyour free consultation

Driving Safely After Daylight Savings

In a couple weeks, we will have daylight savings once again, which means we will be seeing the sun go down one hour sooner. Having less sunlight on the road can be dangerous. Driving with a good view of your surroundings is essential for defensive driving. Naturally, driving at night limits your field of view. According to the NHTSA, fatal accidents are three times more likely to occur at night

Beyond having less light, there are a few other factors that contribute to making nighttime driving more dangerous. Here are twelve tips on how to be safe when driving at night.

Combat Drowsiness

To prevent drowsy driving, there are a few circumstances to be aware of and to prepare for. If you are driving very late at night, you are at a higher risk of getting drowsy. Even if you’ve had an extra cup of coffee, our body has a circadian rhythm (an internal clock) that tells us when it’s time to sleep. With daylight savings, our internal clock is already off by an hour, so it’s something to keep in mind.

Having said that, the best things to do to prevent drowsiness is:

  1. Get enough sleep.
  2. Avoid drinking alcohol. Even if you are not intoxicated, alcohol is a depressant, and can make you sleepy.
  3. Try not to drive alone for long distances. A passenger can keep you company, and therefore help you remain alert. They can also notice if you are beginning to show signs of drowsiness and can take turns driving.
  4. Check your prescriptions and medications to see if they can cause drowsiness. Do not drive when taking such medications.
  5. Drink coffee or energy drinks for short term alertness. This will not permanently stop the effects of serious sleep deprivation, but it can help mild tiredness.

Protect Yourself from Sun Glare

Just after daylight savings, the sun glare tends to be at its strongest during peak driving hours for Long Islanders heading to and from work. This is especially the case for those driving eastbound in the morning and westbound at night, since the sun will be directly beaming on their vehicles during the entire commute.

To be safe as the sun goes down, follow these tips

  1. Wear Good Sunglasses. Polarized sunglasses can effectively block the sun’s rays from blinding you, as well as prevent eye strain. Always keeping a pair of polarized sunglasses in your car will leave you prepared for sun glare at any given time.
  2. Use the Sun Visor. Avoid having things on your sun visor or windshield that prevent it from being used properly.
  3. Clean Your Windshield. Spots and debris on your windshield can actually act like a veil if the sun hits it. In addition to cleaning it, ensure that you have windshield wiper fluid so that you can quickly rinse off your windshield to get the dirt off while driving.
  4. Use Headlights. This is helpful for oncoming traffic, and is something you should do even if you yourself aren’t getting sun glare. Since the visibility of the drivers going in the opposite direction is impaired, having your headlights on will allow them to see your vehicle easily.

Be Extra Defensive

When the sun is going down, it is not the time to be cutting people off or tailgating. Not only is your visibility and reaction time worsened, but so are the other drivers. Do not count on them for seeing or anticipating what you are doing, because their vision may be impaired as well. Therefore, be patient, slow down, and leave space between you and the car in front of you. Maybe your commute is a little slower, but it would be much slower if you got into a car accident for driving recklessly.

Slow Down

Speeding-related crashes account for 37 percent of nighttime-driving fatalities, compared with 21 percent of those during daylight hours—due to lower visibility and shorter reaction times. Adjust your speed and take the low visibility into account. You also never know when something unexpected, like a deer, will show up on the road; so driving slower means a safer commute.

Use High Beams When Appropriate

High beams are underutilized, but can be very helpful on open roads where there are few cars. Driving on roads in eastern suffolk or on the north shore can be especially dark since some of those roads don’t have many street lamps, and high beams can be really helpful. Additionally, the further east you are on Long Island, the greater chance you have of facing a deer on the highway. Just remember to dim them when you’re within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle, because you can temporarily blind other drivers. Especially don’t use them if you’re following another vehicle.

Look In The Right Direction

While you should always keep your eyes on the road, avoid a fixed gaze and never stare at oncoming headlights. When approaching an oncoming vehicle, avoid being blinded by its headlights by shifting your eyes down and to the right, using the right edge of the road or lane markings as a guide to stay on track. Lift your gaze back up when you’ve passed the oncoming vehicle.About the Author

Steven Palermo is the managing partner for Palermo Law, Long Island’s Personal Injury Law Firm. He has been helping people receive compensation for their injuries for over 21 years. He focuses on cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents and slip and fall injuries.

His book The Ultimate Guide to Handling New York Car Accident Claims details the ins and outs of a car accident claim in a simple, easy-to-read manner.