Drive safely during dark winter nights | Editorial


Driving on our rural roads has unique dangers – like deer waiting to leap in front of you and bicycle riders weaving into traffic.

So don’t make it harder on yourself by practicing bad driving habits – like going too fast down winding, narrow island roads.

It is also unwise to drive too slowly. Driving significantly under the speed limit can cause those behind you to slam on their brakes, tailgate or pass you. Of course, if it’s pouring rain, icy out or the roads are covered in slush, going the speed limit might not be safe.

With Daylight Savings around the corner, safe driving is even more important. The National Safety Council recommends the following tips for driving in the dark.

• Have your headlights properly aimed. Mis-aimed headlights blind other drivers and reduce your ability to see the road.

• Avoid smoking when you drive. Smoke’s nicotine and carbon monoxide hamper night vision.

• If there is any doubt, turn your headlights on. Lights will make it easier for other drivers to see you. Being seen is as important as seeing. Daylight running lights are only 60 percent power. At night, you need the full strength of the headlights as well as the tail and marker lights.

• Reduce your speed and increase your following distances.

• When following another vehicle, keep your headlights on low beam so you don’t blind the driver ahead of you.

•Avoid glare from oncoming bright headlights by watching the right edge of the road and using it as a steering guide.

And one final thought: please use your turn signals. Drivers not using their signals is something I see everyday on the island. Just because we live in a rural community doesn’t mean you can check safe driving habits at the door.