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Riding at Night

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At night it is harder for you to see and be seen. With only one headlight, it is more difficult to see the condition of the road or something Iying in your path. And other drivers may have a hard time picking your headlight or taillight out of the stronger lights of cars around you.

Here are some methods that will help you ride safely at night:

Reduce Your Speed—If something is Iying in the road ahead, you won’t be able to see it until you are very close to it. If you are going too fast, you may not be able to avoid it. Always drive slower at night than you would during the day— particularly on roads you don’t know well.

Increase Distance—No one can judge distance as well at night as during the day. Your eyes rely greatly upon shadows and light contrasts to judge both how far away an object is and how fast it is coming. These contrasts are missing or distorted under the artificial light available at night. Allow your self extra distance at night. Open up a four-second following distance. And give yourself more distance in which to pass.

Use the Car Ahead—If a car is ahead of you, make the most of it. The car’s headlights can give you a better view of the road ahead than even your high beam can. And keep an eye on the car’s taillights and brake lights. Taillights bouncing up and down can alert you to bumps or rough pavement.

Use Your High Beam—Get all the light you can. Use your high beam whenever you are not following or meeting a car.

You should be flexible about lane position, changing to whatever portion of the lane is best able to help you see, be seen, and keep an adequate space cushion. For example, riding in the center portion at night is not nearly as dangerous as some people would lead you to believe. Cars seldom pass over a pothole or road debris without some warning—like a flash of brake lights.