As an over the road driver, it’s safe to say that you’ll be doing at least some of your driving during the night. Sure, lots of truckers hate nighttime driving, and it’s definitely annoying when another driver shines their high beams in your face. However, beyond the annoyance factor, nighttime driving can potentially be very dangerous. For new and experienced drivers alike, it’s important to familiarize yourself with some nighttime driving tips for truckers!
Nighttime Driving Tips for Truckers
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, accidents are three times more likely to happen at night than during the day, despite there being less traffic. So, what can truckers do to be more safe while on the road at night?
Don’t Drive Drowsy
This is the first, and probably one of the most important nighttime driving tips for truckers, especially new drivers. If you are a trucker who doesn’t usually drive at night, there’s a greater chance that you’ll experience more fatigue than truckers who do. Not only that but driving while tired poses a greater risk than driving while intoxicated. To avoid drowsiness, make sure that you’re getting the most out of your sleep time. Use earplugs or a white noise machine to block out outside sounds and distractions while you rest. In addition, make sure your sleeping space is cool and comfortable to better regulate your sleep. Also, make sure to cut back on caffeine, nicotine, and spicy foods before you go to bed.
Limit the Distractions
Resist the temptation to use your phone while driving, especially at night. This applies to driving during all times of the day, but nighttime can be particularly dangerous. Taking your eyes off the road for even a split second could cause a serious accident. To avoid this, consider putting your phone on silent or “do not disturb” mode while driving your truck. Save the phone usage for a rest stop or break!
Keep a Clean Windshield
Dust, insects, sneezes, dirt, and more can really build up on your truck’s windshield over time. At night, this cause light to reflect in the wrong way and/or limit your visibility. Be sure to clean your windshield whenever you can, and don’t wait until it’s too late. To go along with that, replace your wiper blades on a regular basis to keep your windshield cleaner.
Look Away from Oncoming Traffic
Truckers are exposed to this kind of light more often than other drivers, and looking directly into the bright headlights of oncoming vehicles too often could cause temporary damage to the retina. In turn, this can slow down reaction time. When you see a vehicle coming in the opposite direction, keep your eyes moving, or look down and to the right. As long as you can see the white line on the shoulder, you should be just fine.
Watch out for Drunk Drivers
While it’s true that there are a lot fewer cars on the road at nighttime, there are also a lot more drunk drivers. Drunk and/or drugged drivers are just as dangerous to other drivers as they are to themselves, so keep your eyes peeled. Be especially alert on weekends, and during times that bars and clubs typically close (around midnight-2am). If you see a driver struggling to stay in their lane and swerving, stay clear!
Use Your High Beams
When it’s appropriate to do so, make use of your high beams. Sometimes, drivers make the mistake of always using their low beams, but this seriously impairs their ability to see what’s in front of them. If you’re not within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle, your high beams are safe to use.
While some of these may seem like common sense, they are all crucial nighttime driving tips for truckers. What are some of the ways that you practice safe nighttime driving as a trucker? Let us know in the comments below!