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How the End of Daylight Savings Time Affects Your Vehicle

Every spring, I look forward to Daylight Savings Time starting. It's a hot topic of conversation when it comes to whether or not it's still needed, but I am sure glad to have those extra hours of daylight. Not only do we receive more daylight to enjoy the outdoors, but we're also often able to stay awake longer throughout the day. Fall, however, brings about the end of Daylight Savings Time, which results in an earlier sunset and shorter days, making the evenings seem much longer and darker. Darkness can present its own problem when it comes to driving, and I would know, as I have a terrible time trying to drive in the dark. Since night-time driving is pretty much inevitable for most drivers, here are a few tips that can help you manage driving in the dark this fall season.

Be as alert as possible!

The end of Daylight Savings Time means that it will start getting dark much earlier. You might be fighting the setting sun or even partial darkness on your end of the workday commute home. This time of year can result in a higher number of traffic accidents due to the fact that drivers are unable to see properly. Make sure you have sunglasses to wear if needed when the setting sun might deter your vision. Check to make sure that your sun visors are properly connected and working on both sides of the front of the car.

Check your mirrors often when driving at dusk and at night. It's much harder to see when other vehicles are trying to change lanes, especially if they're not using a turn signal to indicate they're changing lanes.

Keep windows and windshields clean

Dirty windows and windshields can make it impossible to see properly at dusk or in the dark. A smear across the windshield can result in blurred vision when coupled with lights from oncoming traffic or brake lights ahead. Clean your windshield (front and back) often, and clean all side windows once a week to ensure you're able to see properly.

Make sure all exterior lights are working properly

At the start of the fall season, do a quick safety check to make sure that all of your vehicle's lights are working properly. I have been in a number of near-accidents due to the car in front of mine not having working brake lights. If your brake lights don't work, the people in cars behind yours can't tell when you're slowing down or stopping- especially if it's dark outside.

You also need to make sure your headlights work- the regular headlights and the brights. While you shouldn't drive with the brights on if you're directly behind another vehicle or there is oncoming traffic, they can certainly come in handy if you're driving alone on the road in a hard-to-see area. If you feel that you can't see well enough in the dark, you might consider having your headlight covers cleaned, or even changing out the bulbs for a brighter light. If these things still don't help with your nighttime vision problems, you may want to talk to your eye doctor.

I like to get home at the end of a fall or winter workday, and then stay in. There are a lot of factors that can contribute to nighttime accidents on the road, and darkness is at the top of the list. If you're not comfortable driving in the dark, try to find alternate means of transportation from a friend or family member. If you feel too tired to drive (no matter what time of day or night it may be), don't get behind the wheel. Get some rest, and drive when you are fully alert and refreshed and energized.

This post brought to you by Humes Chrysler Jeep Dodge.

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