The fall and winter seasons bring with them valuable moments spent with loved ones and holiday travel. It also means more cars on the road than any other time. Over 100 million people hit the road during the holiday season alone, driving 50 miles or more to reach their destinations, leading to a substantial uptick in car accidents. Along with Daylight Saving Time ending November 7 and adverse weather affecting our ability to get where we’re going, there’s no better time to talk about road safety.
Dangers of Driving in the Winter
Shorter days mean longer times spent driving in the dark. The most dangerous hours to drive is between 5pm to 7pm, and statistics from the National Safety Council (NSC) show that between October and March, the peak of fatal crashes is between 4pm and 8pm. Roads are congested due to rush hour traffic and commuters are tired. And with visibility reduced owing to darker roads, dangerous driving conditions are compounded; depth perception and peripheral vision are adversely affected, greatly reducing reaction time.
A survey conducted by AAA revealed that 1 out of 4 drivers had admitted they had driven while almost asleep at the wheel. Their key findings reveal other sobering statistics you should be aware of. In addition, older folks (60 and over) need twice as much light to see as well as 30-year-olds, so nighttime driving is especially treacherous for this age group.
And with the rainy season, slippery roads, black ice, and snow add another layer of difficulty when driving. It is estimated that over 70% of U.S. roads are in areas averaging over five inches of snow annually. Nationally, fender-benders increase 14% on the first day of snow alone.
Winter Driving Tips
With these statistics in mind, a few tips are in order when embarking on a trip during this time of year:
- Before heading out for a road trip, let friends or family know your route, destination, and ETA.
- Get well rested before taking a long drive, especially after sundown. Try to avoid working all day before driving all night.
- In rainy or snowy conditions, always increase your following distance to five or six seconds to give you enough time to brake. Also, accelerate/decelerate slowly to avoid skids. It could make all the difference.
- All-season tires are a good investment to handle inclement weather conditions and are critical to staying safe.
- For long journeys, consider traveling with a companion, drink a caffeinated beverage, and schedule breaks every two hours to reduce fatigue.
- Headlight glare can cause drivers to be temporarily blinded. For night driving, keep your windshield clean and streak-free, and replace older wiper blades.
How Dash Cams Can Help
Dash Cams play a role in driving safety as well. Although Dash Cams are primarily viewed as after-the-fact devices, their importance immediately after an accident is readily apparent. For instance, if you need emergency assistance should an accident happen, Nextbase Dash Cams come equipped with Emergency SOS to alert medical services to locate you when you are incapacitated and even provide essential medical information to responders.
Enhanced Night Vision and Extreme Weather Mode, both available on Nextbase products, can also assist in capturing important details under low light or poor weather conditions, such as license plates and pedestrians wearing dark clothes. For example, while at a stoplight, one may better observe obstacles with the brighter high-resolution of the Dash Cam or even capture someone loitering around their car.
To Sum Up
Just as important, being aware of your environment during the fall and holiday season doesn’t just stop when you step out of the car. As a pedestrian, there are multiple tips to make you and your family safe and reduce the risk of accidents, be it for the holidays or just when crossing an intersection at night.
With some easy adjustments in driving and pedestrian conduct, along with the added safety features from Nextbase Dash Cams, you’re well prepared to reach your destination safely during this time of year.