Cheyenne – With the approach of daylight savings time on Sunday, November 3rd, many drivers may find themselves driving home after work in the dark. That means drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians need to be alert come Monday and need to see and be seen.
According to the National Safety Council, traffic fatalities are three times greater at night than during the day even though there are less drivers out at night.
You as a responsible driver can perform several measures to maximize your safety when driving at night.
Wyoming Highway Patrol Troopers recommend the following 10 important steps for safe night time driving:
1. Make sure all exterior lights on your vehicle are in working order and clean of dirt/debris. This includes free from snow and ice buildup. This will improve your visibility. Conduct periodic maintenance checks of all lights.
2. Wyoming Statute requires vehicles to have their headlights and other lamps in use ½ hour before sunset to ½ hour after sunrise.
3. Make sure your headlights are properly aimed. Improperly aimed headlights reduce your ability to see further & may blind other drivers.
4. Be alert for wild/domestic animals. The best strategy when encountering large animals like deer is to slow down as quickly as you can rather than attempt to steer around them.
5. Keep your mirrors, windshield, rear and side glass clean. This includes both the exterior and interior.
6. Slow down and increase your following distance from the vehicle in front of you Your ability to react is limited by your ability to see.
7. Look for signs of oncoming traffic. Watch for headlight flashes or glare when approaching hills or curves. This will let you be prepared for meeting the oncoming vehicle.
8. Wyoming Statute requires drivers to dim their headlights within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle and within 300 feet when approaching another vehicle from the rear.
9. When you encounter severe weather conditions, depending on the severity of ground blizzard, fog or falling snow, your low beam headlights may be more effective than your high beams.
10. Don't look directly into the lights of oncoming vehicles. Instead, look to the right hand side of the road.
If there is any doubt, turn your headlights on. Lights will not help you see better in early twilight, but they'll make it easier for other drivers to see you. Being seen is as important as seeing.
Pedestrians and bicyclists should not wear dark clothing and should wear brightly colored or reflective safety apparel. Safety lights for pedestrians are a good idea and lights are required by Wyoming statute on bicycles.
The one hour time difference can present some unique driving challenges so now is the time to start preparing for it.