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Driving at night… Not always easy

Did you know that some people will preferably change their plans to avoid having to drive at night?  It’s a fact that driving at night presents some difficulties that we do not face during the day, even if the advantage turns out to be a much less dense traffic.

OUR VISION IS AFFECTED

Among the biggest irritants, of course, reduced visibility since the decrease in natural light affects our vision. This means that the contrasts are less pronounced, which affects depth perception and our ability to see movement. As a result:

  • Objects illuminated by the headlights lose some of their colour.
  • Movement is harder to see.
  • Stationary objects become lost in darkness, which makes it difficult to judge distances.
  • Obstacles risk being seen too late.

TIPS TO HELP US DRIVE AT NIGHT

One of the first tricks that one teaches us is to look beyond the headlight illumination range. But here are some other strategies:

  • Slow down.
  • Increase the safety margin between you and the vehicle ahead.
  • Keep the windshield clean and in good condition.
  • Have clean and properly adjusted headlights. Low beam headlights have a range of 45 to 70 or 75 metres of illumination. High beam headlights have a range of up to 150 metres of illumination.
  • Taillights are what allow drivers in vehicles behind you to spot you. It is important that these lights work well and not be obstructed.
  • With the exception of dashboard lighting, all lights inside a vehicle must be turned off to avoid the risk of glare.

DID YOU KNOW…

It is mandatory to switch to low-beams:

  • At least 150 metres from a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction
  • At least 150 metres from a vehicle you are following
  • When lighting on a public roadway is sufficient, such as in a town or city or on a busy highway

If you fail to obey the law, you are liable to a fine of $60 to $100, plus costs.

WATCH OUT FOR ANIMALS

There are not always signs to warn drivers that they may come across wild animals. It is important to be careful at all times and to slow down.

GLARE CAUSED BY OTHER VEHICLES

  • To avoid being blinded by the headlights of oncoming vehicles, look toward the right side of the road. Do not look directly at the headlights of oncoming vehicles.
  • Slow down if the glare from the headlights of oncoming vehicles is too blinding.
  • Avoid passing when in doubt (at night, oncoming vehicles appear further away than they are)

Finally, if you drive at night, make sure to take a break every 2 hours to counter the effects of driver fatigue.

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