The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) report that 40% of collisions occur at night.
Whether you’re a newly-passed driver or have many years behind the wheel, driving in the dark can pose risks to your safety. These are the top five tips for ensuring that you’re as secure as possible when you get behind the wheel at night.
Driving in the dark: 5 tips
Know how to use your lights
You should be turning on your dipped headlights an hour before sunset and an hour after sunrise to allow other road users and pedestrians to see your vehicle. Use your full beam when appropriate, but always flick it off whenever another vehicle is approaching to avoid blinding them. Ensure that the interior of your car remains dark to reduce the interference of internal light.
Don’t stare directly at oncoming vehicles, as this will dazzle you and your eyes may struggle to readjust. Direct your gaze down and to the left of the road, keeping your car aligned with the white line marking the road’s edge.
You can only use your headlights correctly if they are working. Before you depart for a night journey, ensure that your headlights and brake lights are working effectively, and stay on top of maintaining your car throughout the year. Remember that you can be pulled aside by police if your bulbs aren’t working.
You also need to ensure that your windscreens are clear – the dirtier the window, the more disruptive the glare from other vehicles will be, and the more likely your window is to steam up.
Do not get behind the wheel if you’re tired. You’ll be a danger to yourself and other road users. Take more rest breaks if you need them, particularly if you’re covering long distances.
Stay alert for pedestrians, cyclists and animals. Be aware that cyclists and children may not be wearing reflective clothing and may be less visible in darker areas. If you’re in residential areas, take particular care and always keep your speed down.
Test your eyes regularly
No matter your age, you must get your eyes tested frequently. You need to ensure that you’re wearing glasses if you need them, and that you’re updating your prescription accordingly.
Carry safety essentials
If you’re driving in the dark, it’s likely that you’re driving through the winter months. So, it’s worthwhile having a winter safety kit in your boot. Keep warm items on hand, as well as a torch, ice scraper and de-icer. Having a spare mobile charger is a good idea, too.
Step up your night-time driving safety
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