Winter Driving...Dawn, Dusk and Cloudy Days
During the winter season, available daylight is at its lowest point all year and sunshine is often minimal throughout the day. Therefore, much of our winter driving occurs in low light conditions, such as on cloudy days and during the dawn or dusk hours, which can be very dangerous. The road, other vehicles or even pedestrians may be covered in shadows during these time, even if the sky seems bright. As a result, the low contrast between light and dark can prevent the eyes from adjusting quick enough to make a safe driving decision in time.
A Few Ways to Drive Safely
Some of the methods that can be used to drive safe during low-light winter hours include:
- Keeping your headlights on at all times when driving in the winter;
- Continuously scanning the windshield, rear view mirror and side mirrors;
- Monitoring your speed closely;
- Minimizing distractions, such as cell phone use;
- Increasing your following distance;
- Attempting to drive routes that avoid the rising or setting sun;
- Keeping your windshield clean; and,
- Only wearing sunglasses when absolutely necessary, it’s impossible to look cool when you just caused an accident.
It's All About Defense
Although you may consider yourself an excellent driver, you still have to contend with terrible drivers on the roads and pedestrians not paying attention to their surroundings. Defensive driving is the safest policy throughout the year, but especially during the winter months. Don’t assume you know what pedestrians and other drivers are going to do. Make sure you give yourself enough time to react to unforeseen circumstances by always leaving yourself an out. Ensure you maintain awareness of your surroundings, monitor your speed and keep a proper driving distance.