How Nighttime Driving Relies on Visibility

Local News Stories

ZANESVILLE, Ohio – This weekend marks time change, the weekend each fall, when clocks are set back one hour to compensate for the decreasing amount of daylight. Less daylight and inclement weather are conditions that challenge Ohio motorists every winter and Ohio AAA Public Affairs Director Kimberly Schwind explains how visibility plays a major role in safety.   

“We’re going to be doing more driving in the dark,” Schwind said. “It’s going to be dark later in the morning, dark earlier in the evening and so we’re going to be experiencing dark conditions on the roadways. So you really want to make sure that you can see and be seen, right? So really focus on that visibility. Focus on your headlights. If you haven’t touched your headlights in a while, it’s really a good time to do that to make sure they’re in working order.”

Many vehicles have headlights that can turn cloudy or haze over and that reduces their effective illumination. Schwind recommends purchasing a headlight restoration kit or taking your vehicle to a mechanic to improve their effectiveness.

“When you’re driving in the dark you want to make sure you are slowing down, even if it’s below the posted speed limit, to give yourself plenty of time to react,” Schwind said. “Increase that following distance behind other vehicles up to four seconds or more to compensate for that reduced visibility. You want to continually scan the road ahead. Use those high beams when you can and make sure you are paying attention at all times, it’s not the time to be distracted.”

Another component to visibility is your windows. Make sure your windshield wiper system functions properly with wiper blades that wipe effectively, by keeping your windshield washer reservoir full and verifying that your defrosters are working.

Matthew Morris
Matt joined WHIZ in 2014 as a part-time radio board operator. In 2018, he graduated from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism's Carr Van Anda program where he earned an Outstanding Entrepreneurship award for his Photo-Journalism work at area speedways. Matt is a native of Morgan County who is familiar with the layout and history of Southeastern Ohio.