Driving at night

Driving at night
Driving at night
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Whenever covering a long distance of several hundred or even thousands miles, there is often one important decision that needs to be made: Whether or not to drive at night. If we decide for driving, we need to ensure that we fully understand what it means and that we are prepared. (This includes our car). At the end of the day driving at night is very different from driving during the day.

Issue #1: Tiredness
Regardless of how well you prepare your body and your mind for night driving do not expect to be fully rested and/or feel as good as during the day. This will not happen. We are ‘day animals’ and we won’t change it. Obviously it does not mean that you should not rest well before the night driving. You should. Even more. Actually you must. But don’t expect miracles.
Although I know it is pretty devastating for the organism you many consider using energetic drinks, coffee and fresh supplies of sugar in the form of chocolate, sweets and the like. It may help. It does in my case.
Supported by energetic drinks and the likes or not, you should listen very carefully to your own body. Some people think that they are capable of driving without stopping for 5, 10 or even 20+ hours, but this is wrong. They cannot. Experts strongly recommend 15 minutes breaks every second hour. During such a break you should get of the car, stretch yourself a little bit, and have a short walk. For the safety reasons you should stop at some well lit place with parking. Gas station is usually a good option.
What is of paramount importance here is that if you feel that you can hardly drive such a short break will not help much. Instead, you should find a place where you can spend a night, go to sleep and continue the drive from the morning. Safety goes first.

Issue #2: Low visibility
Let’s face it: we are neither owls nor cats. Our seeing at night is not impressive. Therefore, unless you have a super modern car with the electronic systems improving the view at night by means of sophisticated electronics, low visibility will be most likely the most significant challenge for you to overcome during the night drive. This challenge will consist of two factors.
Firstly, you won’t see much because it is dark. Just like that. It means that you will have very limited time for reaction in case of some unexpected events. So remember to adjust your speed or to put it more simply and direct: slow down.
Secondly, seeing at dark will cost you a lot of energy which will further increase your tiredness already mentioned above.

Issue #3: Monotony
Driving at night is quite simply very boring most of the time. Nothing happens. Nothing draws your attention. There is little to no traffic. There are few (if any) cars on the road. There is little to nothing to focus on. There is probably nothing interesting on radio either. There is no one to talk to (Note that even if you are not alone in the care, the others will usually sleep. Even if they are full of promises that they will be with you and talking the whole night, the practice shows very clearly that it usually won’t happen). This resembles the situation of the goalkeeper in the soccer game, whose team is attacking most of the time and therefore he has nothing to do most of the time. And then 90th minute come and the other team counterattacks, someone shots and…..And everything depends on how well our goalkeeper was prepared that something actually might happen. The same rules apply to you as a night driver. And better be prepared since the stake here is higher than just conceding a goal or not.

Issue #4: Using full beam headlights
Although full beam headlights can be very useful, their effective usage is not that trivial as it might seem. The tricky point is about other cars. You need to mind them and they need to mind you as well. If you are on unlit road and no cars around then feel free to use them. However, when some car is approaching the other way, you need to be prepared to switch them off. What is usually less obvious, you should also be switching them off when you are approaching from behind some car going the same way as you do. This is because the light beam will reflect in the rear mirror and also can dazzle the other driver.
There is one useful hint worth mentioning here. In order not to be blinded by the full beam headlights from someone from behind one should adjust the rear mirrors accordingly.

Issue #5 Drunk drivers
At night there is a higher risk of encountering a drunk driver. This is true especially during weekends when people are coming back from different parties. Therefore you should remember about the proper distance between the cars and be always prepared for some totally unexpected manner of another driver. Also, if you notice a potentially drunk driver (usually judging by ‘strange’ or dangerous way of driving) you should immediately call the police. It really can save someone’s life.

As you could probably notice none of points outlined above is a rocket science. They can however make a real difference. Therefore take them seriously. Please.

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