Street Smart Teens: Driving in the Dark

By: Bailey Disselkoen Email
By: Bailey Disselkoen Email

November 8, 2010

Motor vehicle training educators agree that when driving during the nighttime, motorists encounter several more dangers than when driving during the daytime.

"Fatality is three times greater at nighttime as opposed to day driving. Especially with daylight savings in effect, pedestrians are going to be out [when it's dark]," said Michael Jones, of the Green Light Driving School.

Jones adds that pedestrian fatalities increase four-fold during this time of year, and many young drivers do not understand the importance of thoroughly scanning intersections.

"It's harder to see people if they are wearing dark clothing. You really have to take the time to look. When you scan you look left, look center, look right, and back to center," explained Jones.

When it is dark out, educators say teens need to drive below the speed limit, especially on winding country roads. If inexperienced drivers are going too fast they could potentially overdrive their headlights, meaning by the time an object comes into the driver's field of vision, it will be too late.

"The speed limit is the max speed you can go and that is for daytime conditions and dry roads, so pretty much perfect conditions," said Jones.

Jones says glare from the headlights of other vehicles can create another problem for teen drivers. However, they can adjust their rear-view mirror to a nighttime setting, which will help to reduce the glare. He adds that the best way for teen drivers to improve their nighttime driving skills is to simply drive more.

"The more they drive, the better prepared your child will be, so when they go out on their own they will not make mistakes."

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