Many motorists say that they feel less confident when driving at night and this is something that is not unusual given that driving at night is more dangerous than any other time of the day. As you’ve probably noticed, when it reaches the end of October, driving conditions can prove to be very challenging. With reduced visibility and other different factors such as poor weather being taken into consideration, driving at night can be daunting, especially for new drivers who can lack experience with night time driving.
Here’s our top tips to help you and others stay safe when you’re driving in the dark:
1. LIGHTEN UP
It’s extremely important that before you set off in the dark, that all of your exterior lights are clean, working properly and switched on. It’s a good idea to get in the habit of turning your headlights on approximately an hour before it begins to get dark. Having your headlights switched on not only makes it easier for you as the driver to see in the dark, but it also makes you more visible to others too. Don’t forget, if you find that bulb needs changing, try and get this done as soon as possible to avoid being stopped by the police.
2. STAY FOCUSED
If you’re taking a long journey, it’s always advisable to take regular breaks, especially when you’re driving at night as you need to keep yourself alert. Although some people prefer driving at night as the roads are less crowded, it can be more dangerous in the dark as you may feel accustomed to sleep given that it’s dark and quiet on the roads. Try and plan your road trips accordingly as it can be difficult to drive for hours with lack of sleep. If you find yourself struggling as you are driving and slowly start to feel a little sleepy, you pose a danger to yourself, as well as others on the road. So if you feel sleepy, stop and take a break.
3. CLEAN YOUR WINDOWS
You should always ensure that your windscreen, windows and mirrors are clean both inside and out. This is even more important at night time as you’ll need to make sure that nothing hinders your vision and that you can see everything. Clean your windows and mirrors as this will help to reduce the glare and improve visibility. Try not to touch your windows and mirrors with your hands and make sure that you give your windscreen a quick clean at night before you head out anywhere.
4. DON’T STARE AT ONCOMING VEHICLES
To prevent yourself from being dazzled, never look directly at oncoming vehicles and their headlights. Staring at oncoming vehicles headlights at night can seriously disrupt your concentration. We understand that this may be easier said than done as it’s very easy to become distracted by staring at a bright road sign or the headlights of an oncoming lorry, but try and avoid looking at high beams and give the road ahead your full attention. Try to stick to looking at the left-hand side of the road and keep track of your position as if you happen to be blinded by oncoming vehicles, your vision may be temporarily impaired, which is likely to make you panic and lose you bearings. Stay focused and slow down if you see anything that might cause you stop abruptly.
5. KEEP YOUR EYES HEALTHY
Although your vision is tested as part of your practical driving test, your eyesight can sometimes worsen without you even noticing. For this reason, it is vital that you have your eyesight checked on a regular basis as if there’s a problem, this may affect your night time vision. Even if you’ve got the cleanest windscreen and the best headlights, this will not help you if your eyes are strained. Your eyes need to be able to correctly perceive road objects and any hazards that may be on the road ahead, so do ensure that you have your eyes checked at least once every two years.