Daylight Savings Time is right around the corner, meaning we’ll lose an hour of sleep when our clocks “spring forward.” This also means that many of us will be leaving for work in the dark before the sun rises. Driving in the dark can be difficult, but things can get even more tricky as the sun begins to rise. To help you prepare, here’s 10 tips on how to drive safely before and during the sunrise.
When heading to work before the sunrise, it’s important to remember that driving in the dark hinders your vision. Driving in darkness makes it difficult to see what’s on the road, alters your depth perception, and weakens your peripheral vision.
- Make sure your headlights and brake lights are not dull and foggy. Clean your headlights if they have road salt or pollution build up to ensure they shine as bright as possible.
- Avoid staring into oncoming headlights. Instead, try looking to the right side of the road when approaching bright headlights in the opposite lane.
- Dim your dashboard lights. Although less noticeable, the lights from your dashboard can reflect on your windshield and can impair your vision or cause a distraction.
- Increase your following distance. Darkness reduces your depth perception, meaning that you will have a slower reaction time when you need to hit your brake. Increasing the distance between you and the car ahead of you will give you more time to safely slow down or stop.
- Adjust your headlights. Over time, your headlights can become uneven or point lower than normal without you noticing. Adjusting your headlights properly will increase your vision while driving in the dark. Just make sure that they are not pointing at other cars and impairing their vision.
Although witnessing a sunrise on your way to work can be a beautiful sight, the bright rays can make it difficult to drive. Here’s a few precautions that can help make the drive safer.
- Have sunglasses easily accessible. And polarized are the best. Don’t let a sudden turn into the sunrise catch you off guard. Keep your sunglasses where you can easily grab them and put them on so that you are not blinded by the bright sun.
- Avoid looking straight into the sun by looking towards the edge of the road. Similar to oncoming headlights, looking towards the edge of the road prevents you from staring straight into the sun and temporarily blinding yourself.
- Prepare for traffic to slow down when facing the sun. A sudden turn into the sun causes many people to naturally slow down to compensate for impaired vision. Keep this thought in mind to avoid having to suddenly slam on your brakes.
- Make sure your windshield is clean. Even if it doesn’t appear to be dirty, a sudden blast of sun will highlight all of the dirt making it difficult to see.
- Drive with your headlights ‘on’ to increase your car’s visibility to other drivers. Turning on your headlights helps oncoming traffic, and will also help those trailing your vehicle to be more aware of the distance.
Following these safety tips will help you to safely “spring forward” into your morning commute on March 12th!