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Tips for avoiding car accidents at night

Nighttime driving is particularly dangerous, and anyone on the road needs to be extra careful. Three people suffered injuries Halloween night earlier this year in Bayonne after a car veered off the main road. 

This time of year when the days are shortest, night driving is an even greater danger on New Jersey roadways. Many people commute to work before the sun is up and/or back home from work after the sun has already set. Below are some basic steps basic precautions to prevent car accidents at night and in low-light conditions.

Do not fall prey to distractions

You should never use your smartphone behind the wheel. You also never want to eat while driving or reach for various items while driving. All these actions increase your likelihood of ending up in a collision. In the event something suddenly changes on the road, you need both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road so you can react quickly and appropriately.

Also, the darker it is outside, the more the light from your phone illuminates the interior of your car, making it harder to see deer, pedestrians, obstacles or other vehicles on the road. Any distraction increases the chances of a car accident.

Are your headlights lights bright and straight?

Poorly aimed headlights will not illuminate the road very far ahead. Headlight bulbs lose their intensity or burn out. Overtime the plastic headlight covers become yellowed, scratched or dirty. At the beginning of the winter season, drivers should take their vehicles in for inspections. You want to make sure your car's lights work properly. You need to be certain all the bulbs are fully operational. This inspection also allows a professional to readjust the lights to ensure they remain pointed in the correct direction. Don't forget to check that your tail lights and turn signals are working properly.

Additionally, you should turn your lights on an hour before dusk or when bad weather is present. Many newer cars are equipped with daytime running lights or lights that automatically turn on in dusky or foggy conditions. But you may have to manually toggle that switch on your dashboard.

Maintain a safe following distance

It's never good to tailgate another driver. And you definitely do not want to follow too closely at night. You may not be able to see obstacles or changes in the road up ahead. If the person ahead of you suddenly brakes, you may not be able to react in time. Ideally you should allow two to three seconds of distance between you and the car ahead of you ("One-thousand-one, one-thousand-two...").

Getting from Point A to Point B is harder at night. Be patient, be vigilant and be safe!

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