Safety tips for driving in the dark
Driving in the dark can pose extra challenges, so stay safe with these tips.
There's no doubt that driving in the dark is more dangerous.
An investigation by ROSPA revealed that in the UK, 40% of all collisions occur in the hours of darkness. And 20% of serious accidents on motorways and monotonous roads are caused by drivers falling asleep behind the wheel.
Luckily there are some things you can do to reduce the risks associated with driving at night.
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Eight tips for safer night driving:
Turn your headlights on before sunset and keep them on for an hour after sunrise.
Use full beams when you need them - but remember to dip your lights if there's oncoming traffic.
Keep your windscreen and windows clean.
Take your time.
Have your eyes checked regularly.
Study the road ahead - watch out for pedestrians and vulnerable road users.
If you can, dim your dashboard lights and reduce reflections.
Take regular breaks.
Turn on your headlights
Vision is reduced at night so good headlight etiquette is essential.
The Institute of Advanced Motorists says to turn on your headlights before sunset and keep them on for an hour after sunrise. This makes it easier for other drivers to see you in twilight.
Make sure all your exterior lights are clean and working properly and keep your interior lights turned off.
Avoid getting dazzled by headlight glare
On rural roads, drive on full beam whenever possible. Make sure you dip your lights when faced with another road user so you don't dazzle them.
If you're dazzled by an oncoming car then avoid looking at the headlights. Keep your attention on the left-hand kerb and stay at a steady speed.
Keep your windscreen clean
Make sure your windscreen and windows are clean, inside and out.
Dirty windows will increase glare from other vehicles and are more prone to steaming up.
Have regular eye sight checks
It's vital to have your sight checked regularly. This will show up any underlying eye problems that may affect your night vision.
Never wear dark or tinted lenses for night driving.
Study the road ahead
Read the road ahead for signs of oncoming drivers. Glimmers of light at the top of a hill or around bends could be the headlights of other vehicles, giving you prior warning.
And watch out for pedestrians and cyclists. After dark they can be more difficult to spot, especially if they're not wearing reflective clothing.
Take your time
As we've mentioned, driving at night can be much more risky than day time driving. So it's worth reducing your speed and taking your time.
Take regular breaks too. This is important when driving long distances, but it's even more vital when you're driving overnight.
Stop for a rest at least every two hours and drink strong coffee to keep yourself alert.