Tips for Night Driving: Mastering the Road When the Sun Goes Down

Night Truck Driving

Operating a big rig on the road is challenging on its own, even in good weather conditions and during the day. However, adding the element of low light after darkness sets in for the night can increase the risk of accidents and other issues immensely. Therefore, as a professional driver, you should train for truck driving scenarios at night, so you can master the road when the sun goes down.

1. Be Ready to Lower Speed

As driving conditions change from daylight to night, it’s important to give yourself a little more time to react. A normal-sized vehicle needs over 300 feet to come to a stop when they are traveling at 65 mph. When you are talking about a loaded tractor-trailer though, the distance required to stop when traveling, that speed increases to nearly 525 feet. Therefore, when visibility goes down, as it does in the evening and night, it’s even more important to give yourself more time to react by lowering your speed.

2. Increase The Spacing Between Vehicles

Another way to create more space for your rig to slow down, change lanes, or react in some way at night is to increase the distance between your truck and the vehicle in front of you. Generally, you will want to give yourself one truck’s length of space for every 10 mph you are traveling. Therefore, at a speed of 60mph, you would want at least six truck lengths between you and the vehicle in front of you. This is even more important at night when you have less time to react due to lower visibility.

3. Check Headlights and Wipers

Headlights are vital safety components of your truck, giving you much-needed visibility in the dark. Therefore, when you know you are going to be traveling at night, be sure to check important safety functions like your truck’s lights and your wipers. This is usually part of your pre-check inspection list anyway, but if you know that you will be traveling throughout the night or in inclement weather, taking the extra step to ensure that your lights are working properly is a good idea.

4. Make Sure Your Windshield is Clean

One common problem when it comes to driving at night is the glare that it can create on your windshield or even on your mirrors. Therefore, to prepare for nighttime driving, make sure that your truck’s windshield is clean and free of grime as this will reduce the likelihood of you experiencing glare. Also, make sure your mirrors are free of smudges, so your visibility is as good as it can be, even at night.

5. Know That Your Natural Rhythm Will Likely Be Off

While not always the case, for most people, there will be a natural drop-off of alertness and energy levels as the day progresses, meaning that the late night into morning hours can be challenging for drivers. Make sure that you schedule breaks and time for sleep to avoid becoming over-tired. Caffeinated drinks can also help, but don’t drink those to excess as this can cause other issues. Generally, being in good physical shape and maintaining a good diet will increase your overall energy levels. Listen to podcasts to keep your mind engaged, roll down windows to feel the cool air or simply pull over and sleep some if you become too tired.

6. Be Aware of All Other Drivers

Just as your alertness is likely to be less in the late hours into the early morning for you as a professional driver, it is even more common for drivers who are not used to driving at night. Therefore, although traffic is generally lighter, the vehicles on the roadways are going to be more likely to have distracted, tired, or generally unalert drivers. Therefore, while being hyper-aware of the surrounding traffic is always good, it’s even more important to do this when driving at night.

7. Parking Availability Will Likely be Better

While there is a big competition for parking during the day, typically, when it comes to parking at night, this is not the case. In many situations, you will not have to worry about planning your route around parking availability or making dock plans ahead of time. This is one advantage of nighttime driving that makes it preferable for some drivers. If you are wondering about where to find good parking or gas, even at night, you can always utilize GasBuddy or TruckerPath.

8. Plan Ahead and Take Precautions

Nighttime deliveries can feel a little quieter, but it’s also a good opportunity to crank up your tunes and enjoy the peacefulness of the road. However, some drivers mention keeping an extra eye out in unfamiliar areas, especially during deliveries. Here are some tips to help you feel confident:

  • Plan your route beforehand: Utilize tools like Google Street View to familiarize yourself with delivery locations, especially in unfamiliar areas.
  • Stay alert and aware: Even during quieter night hours, staying alert is important.
  • Take precautions: If you need to exit your cab at night, consider parking in well-lit areas and letting someone know your estimated arrival time.

Master Truck Driving at Night

At Barr-Nunn Transportation, your safety is our top priority. We understand the unique challenges of nighttime driving, and we encourage you to utilize the tips outlined above. Taking these proactive steps can help you navigate the roads with greater confidence and minimize potential risks. Remember, even small adjustments to your routine can significantly enhance your nighttime driving experience.

To learn more about Truck Driving options with a Certified Top-Pay Carrier, contact us at Barr-Nunn Transportation.

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