Safe Traveling on Pennsylvania Roads and Highways This Holiday Season
As the holidays approach, motorists throughout Pennsylvania should be mindful of ways to make their travel safer. Those on the road late in the evening or at night must be particularly vigilant, since the Centers for Disease Control estimates that drowsy driving may result in up to 6,000 deadly crashes each year. Drowsy driving takes place when drivers operate their vehicles while fatigued or sleepy.
Lack of sleep can contribute to drowsy driving, but medications, drinking alcohol, or shift work is also responsible. Drowsiness affects the ability to operate a vehicle safely, since it slows reaction time and affects the driver’s ability to make good decisions.
Here are some suggestions for safe driving throughout this holiday season and beyond.
Before Getting Behind the Wheel
Sleep well! Most adults require at least seven hours of sleep daily, while teens need more.
Check your vehicle’s headlights. Headlights should be in working order, positioned correctly. This means they should point straight ahead, rather than at the ground. Make sure your headlights are not oxidized, which can lead the lights to appear dim. Specialized cleaning products can help deoxidize your headlights.
Dim your dash lights. Dash lights might be on the highest setting, and this can distract a driver by the brightness or potentially temporarily blind them when glancing at the dashboard.
Install fog lights. In the event of fog, high beam lights will obstruct the driver’s view. In comparison, fog lights are designed to project light lower to the ground, helping your vision in the haze. If your vehicle does not come equipped with fog lights, use your low beams in a fog.
Check your eyes with an optometrist. A checkup with the optometrist is a good idea, especially if you require glasses or a new prescription.
During Your Nighttime Ride
Slow down. Even when using your high beams, you are driving with low visibility. This affects a driver’s peripheral vision. Thus, while a driver may be able to see directly in front of them, they cannot see and anticipate other cars, objects, or animals that may cross the road. The consequence of slowing down is that it provides you with more time to react and to avoid a collision.
Scan, don’t watch the road. By fixating on one section of the road while nighttime driving, your peripheral vision is blocked. Scan the road back and forth, which will also keep you alert.
To avoid being blinded by other lights, focus on the edge of the road. Oncoming cars that pass you on the road can blind you with their lights. By diverting your gaze to the right edge of the road, you will be able to maintain your position without swerving off the road.
Focus on driving. Again, reaction times can be delayed due to visibility while nighttime driving. Avoid talking, eating, or drinking, and do not text while behind the wheel. Remain alert and focused on the road.
Rest when tired. At the end of the day, our bodies tire. If you are feeling exhausted, it is impossible to remain focused on the road. Drivers risk the danger of falling asleep behind the wheel. Fatalities can be related to driver fatigue, and these are avoidable. If you are yawning or blinking excessively, it is important to recognize these signs of exhaustion, pull over, and rest. Some other signs of exhaustion include missing an exit and drifting from your designated lane.
At Needle Law, we help injured individuals and their families following the devastating impact of a car accident. Our skilled car accident attorneys help victims seek compensation for their injuries, property damage, and pain and suffering. We offer a complimentary consultation and can be reached by calling (570) 344-1266 or contacting us through our online form.