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November's here: Tips for save driving in the dark in Oklahoma

Welcoming November means the end to daylight-saving time. With it comes shorter days and longer nights.

And that can increase the risks of car accidents when you drive in the dark at rush hour with reduced night vision. The National Safety Council (NSC) also reports that when it's dark, a driver's depth perception, peripheral vision and ability to recognize colors can be compromised. The glare of oncoming headlights also can also affect a driver's sight.

So what should Oklahoma drivers do to compensate for the darkness? The NSC recommends the following:

  1. Dim dashboard lights
  2. Glance away for oncoming lights
  3. Make sure your car's headlights are clean and properly aimed
  4. Don't wear anti-reflective glasses
  5. Keep your car's windows clean and streak-free
  6. Slow down to combat limited visibility

Remember, it is more difficult to drive in the dark, especially as we get older. The American Optometric Association said a 50-year-old could need twice the amount of light to see like a 30-year-old can. The association said older drivers, especially those 60 or older, should have annual vision exams, slow down behind the wheel, reduce distractions and even take a driving course as a refresher.

The NSC also has recommendations about how to best drive in rush hour, with everyone hurrying to get home from work on darker roads.

  1. Stay alert even though you drive the route daily
  2. Keep the distractions – phone, food and such – away
  3. Stay in your lane and watch closely for drivers making abrupt lane changes
  4. Slow down
  5. If you're driving somewhere that is unfamiliar, check the route first and don't look down at the GPS while driving

The NSC states that Americans do just 25 percent of their driving at night, yet that's when half of the traffic deaths occur. Be sure to exercise caution while driving at night this fall and winter. You don't want to harm yourself or your family – or any innocent drivers on the road.

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