In keeping my children safe, I try to stay off the roads with them at night. If we need to be out, I’d rather leave earlier than travel on the road with them after dark. It’s one of the things that gives me huge anxiety.
Our weekend away
This weekend we had a fun time visiting my aunt for the weekend. Her place is about 30 minutes drive from ours so we spent the night. Our visit ended with the whole family over for Sunday lunch. We enjoyed our family time immensely but as the afternoon hours stretched into early evening, I began getting anxious to leave. I wanted to get the kids home before it got too dark and in Winter that is usually in the early evening.
As with any family gathering, getting ready to leave was a drawn out process. Toys needed to be packed and we seemed to leave with tons more luggage than we came with. The more vocal I became about needing to go, the more the family wanted me to stay. Pretty soon, I was giving so much explanation on why we had to leave that I sounded pretty unreasonable and neurotic even to my own ears.
My family just wanted to extend our visit but I felt bad for having to defend my parenting choices. I started making all sorts of excuses. The kids needed to rest before school tomorrow, I had to get ready for work, we missed Ashley, he was waiting for us at home, etc. It got really, really awkward.
Night driving with my children
The truth is, night driving with my children in the car terrifies me. There are just so many dangers on the road especially at night time.
Does this make me a crazy paranoid person?
According to Arrive Alive “..night driving presents unique challenges, increased risks and numerous deaths and injuries.” They also state that “traffic death rates are three times greater at night than during the day“.
The dangers of night driving
Arrive Alive further outlines the dangers of driving at night:
- Decreased visibility. Depth perception, colour recognition, and peripheral vision are compromised after sundown.
- Many inexperienced young drivers are on the roads at night and do not have the skills and concentration that comes with experience.
- Elderly drivers need more light to see as well as the younger drivers.
- Vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and bikers are often not clearly visible to motorists and vice versa.
- Reduced ability to judge speed and distance at night.
- Sharing the roads with many drunk drivers and pedestrians returning from bars, parties etc. late at night.
- Sharing the roads with fatigued drivers after a hard day of work or those who have been driving long distances.
- Vehicle lighting cannot illuminate very far allowing little time and space to react and bring the vehicle to a stop.
- Wildlife venture onto the roads with these risks increased in areas where fences are broken or removed.
- Criminals are often lurking in the dark, placing objects in the road to cause crashes and rob drivers and occupants.
I try not to let fear control me but when it comes to child safety it’s a losing battle. My role as a parent often places me in the position of having to make decisions that don’t make me very popular, to others and very often to my children.
Driving with your children at night might not seem like a big deal to many. I speak from a place of my mom escaping from an attempted hijacking recently. It happened while she was driving at night. Also from not being a driver myself but having to trust others behind the wheel.
I hate night driving but you might disagree
If there’s anything I’ve learned since becoming a parent it’s that we all do it differently. We can respectfully agree to disagree sometimes. You might be a super safe driver and confident in your abilities to travel safely at night.
I also know that we can’t always avoid travelling with our children after dark all the time. I have been on the road with them after dark coming from to evenings events. It terrifies me every time so I choose to avoid it as much as I can.
This time I got an Uber and left the family early. As much as I know my relatives are safe drivers, I can’t speak for any of the other drivers who share the road with us.
The risk is not worth it.
How do you feel about night driving with your kids? Do you avoid it too or are you OK with it? Leave a comment below and share your opinion!