Tips for Driving in the Winter After Dark

By Peter DePaolis

Driving after dark comes with its own hazards regardless of the time of year. Driving in the winter also involves man perils. When you combine driving after dark with driving in the winter, the risk of getting into an accident is compounded.

A Maryland personal injury attorney can help you pursue compensation if you got hurt in a collision. Here are a few tips for driving in the winter after dark.

Advice from AAA About Inclement Weather and Driving

One of the first tips from AAA about wintertime driving is not to do it. AAA recommends that people stay home in bad weather and only go out if necessary. If you do need to get out on the road, you will want to drive slowly and cautiously.

If there is snow on the ground, be sure to use the gas pedal and brake slowly. If you accelerate too quickly, you could go into a skid. Likewise, if you brake too quickly, you are likely to lose control of the car and slide.

It is better to slow down well before a situation rather than having to come to a complete stop. For example, if you see a red traffic signal ahead, it would be better to slow down far in advance so that the light could be green again by the time you get to the intersection. Of course, you will want to be aware of any cars behind you before you slow down.

Night Driving Tips

AAA says that, for each mile driven, the risk of fatality from a driving accident is three times higher at night than during the day. That statistic is for year-round driving, and so winter driving will likely increase that risk.

If there is any moisture on the road from snow, rain, sleet, heavy fog, or other precipitation, the surface of the road could be covered with a layer of ice after sunset. Without the warmth of the sun, roads often freeze over on cold winter nights. Often, roads are covered with “black ice” which is extremely difficult to see. With little or no warning, you could hit slick patches while traveling on what appears to be a clear road.

Visibility is Essential for Safety

Visibility is a significant safety issue when driving at night in the winter. The inside of your car’s windows can fog up, obstructing your view. Or, your windshield and car windows can get covered with snow and ice, which your windshield wipers cannot get off, making it even more difficult for you to see. 

After experiencing snow, sleet, or frozen rain you will want to clear off all the windows on the outside and remove snow from the hood, roof, and other surfaces of your car so that snow does not blow onto your windshield or other vehicles. If your windshield wipers are worn or not working well, this is the time to replace them.

You also need to be as visible as possible to other drivers. Be sure to remove snow and ice from your headlights, taillights, and exterior mirrors. Replace any dim or burned-out headlights or taillights.

Know Your Limits

Driving safely after dark in the winter requires a higher level of alertness than summertime driving during the day. Try to avoid being on the road past your usual bedtime, as you are more likely to be drowsy. If you have to drive late at night, have a passenger who will keep the conversation going to help you stay awake. When in doubt, switch drivers or pull off the road and get some rest indoors.

You will want to talk to a Maryland personal injury attorney right away if you got injured or lost a loved one in an accident. Get in touch with our office today, we offer a free consultation.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.