During daylight driving, visibility is excellent, making driving so much safer. However, while driving at night, a sobering thought is that all that we can see is what the two beams of light in front of us show us at any one time if there are no streetlights. So if you spot something blocking the road, you’ll have only a second or two to react to it. No wonder that in the US, road fatalities are 3 times higher at night compared to those occurring during the day. 1 No wonder safety tips are essential to consider for night driving in 2021.
Prevention is better than cure1
The best way to avoid any dangers during night driving is not to drive at night at all. Unfortunately, many of South Africa’s roads have become extraordinarily dangerous, mainly due to crime ranging from rocks thrown from bridges to spikes lying across the street.
What about those who must drive at night?2
Many professions require night driving, such as doctors and nurses, but they are exempted from curfew restrictions.
What about curfew restrictions?2
To curb the spread of the virus during the South African pandemic, the Government is constantly adjusting the curfew window, depending on the severity of the lockdown level. As of 26 July 2021, the curfew ranges from 22h00 to 04h00 at level 32. Important to note that only those motorists who have exemption permits for professional reasons may drive during the curfew. Anyone driving home from, say, a party at 02h00 in the morning will be breaking the law.
Be alert to the latest curfew announcements2
Motorists need to be alert concerning any lockdown level announcements made by the President to ensure they are not travelling illegally at night.
Know the dangers of night driving1
The most obvious danger is that a motorist sees much less at night, even with the best eyesight. Other motorists also pose a significant threat, such as those who are inexperienced or intoxicated. Pedestrians, cyclists, dogs, cattle, horses, and wild animals are just some of the nightlives we can meet on the road.
What’s your eyesight like now? 1
The most obvious criterion for safe night driving is good eyesight. Anything that affects eyesight, such as old age, night blindness or poor vision, can pose great dangers. Sadly, in South Africa, drivers are only tested for their eyesight every 5 years. The challenge here is that if a motorist barely passes the eye test at the beginning of the 5 years, what will be the driver’s vision like towards the middle and end of those 5 years?
How are you physically? 1
If your brain wants to go to sleep while driving, nothing can stop it – no amount of coffee or determination. So, if you can’t stop it, how can you prevent it? The answer is a good night’s sleep. Leaving for your holiday destination at 02h00 is not a great idea. Avoid any distractions, such as texting on your phone while driving. Finally, never consume any alcohol before you drive, as it will impair your judgement.
Following these few tips will increase your night driving safety level. But should you be involved in an accident, are you sure your car has appropriate car insurance cover that is affordable too? Get affordable car insurance with PMD and enjoy exceptional, unique benefits like fixed premiums* and a reduce to zero excess*. T’s and C’s apply.
This article was prepared by Eric Sandmann in his personal capacity. The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. The views and opinions in the article should not be attributed to anyone but the author unless expressly stated. Nothing in this article should be relied upon as advice, this publication is presented for informational purposes only. No person should act or refrain from acting in reliance on any information found in this article, without first obtaining proper financial advice from the appropriate professional. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, or completeness, of any information linked from, referred to, or contained in this article. The author reserves the right, to edit and change the content of this article.