Top tips for night time driving02 November 2016
The clocks have gone back and nights are drawing in fast, and unfortunately that goes hand in hand with an increase in accidents on the road. Even if you're an experienced driver it pays to be extra vigilant over these winter months, so we've put together our top tips for driving in the dark:
Driving at night could mean that you may also be tired, as could other road users. You should make sure to take extra care around other drivers and be ready for erratic behaviour. Always be sure to take a rest before you drive if you need to and regularly stop for breaks during longer trips.
Make sure you have your glasses
This should go without saying really, but any vision impairments such as shortsightedness are exacerbated by the darkness. Always ensure that you have your correct lenses or glasses with you and preferably carry a spare too.
Don't get distracted by bright lights
This one goes especially for motorway driving, where it can be easy to get mesmerised by the lights of other vehicles at night. Staring at bright lights whilst driving can not only distract you from where you should be looking but can also make it more difficult to see anything else in your field of vision once you look away.
Dim your instrument and interior lights
There are more than enough gadgets to distract the driver in a modern car but any lights at all in the cabin can be distracting, it's best to keep everything at a minimum. Your dashboard instruments should have a brightness control and we'd recommended you keep the lights low when driving at night to avoid your vision of the road being compromised.
Make sure your windscreen is nice and clean
Poor visibility is an inevitable factor of driving at night, you will never be able to see as much as you could during the day, but this can be made worse still if your windows aren't as clean as they good be. This can be especially true during the winter months when there can be more spray on the road from bad weather and dirt from road grit. Make sure that you have your wiper fluid topped up and that the wipers themselves are nice and clean.
Check your mirrors
As with your windscreens, outside mirrors can get dirty very easily during the winter months. Be sure to keep a cloth handy to wipe clean your mirrors should they need it. Also take extra care to keep them adjusted correctly as they are as crucial as ever when driving at night.
Your headlights are of course a crucial tool for night time driving, so it's worth checking that they're functioning correctly on a regular basis. It can also be a good idea to keep spare bulbs in your vehicle if you're making longer journeys. Also be sure to avoid dazzling other motorists by having your lights on full beam when there is any other traffic on the roads.
It can be grim up north, there seem to be plenty of days during winter when the sun doesn't come up at all! If in any doubt about the visibility on the roads you should be sure to put your headlights on, this also goes for twilight times at the beginning and the end of the day. Even if you can see what's in front of you, the lights on your vehicle can make you much easier to spot for other road users.
Above all drive safely!
Of course you should try and drive with care at all times, but taking risks at night can be more likely to cause accidents so you should be extra vigilant at these times. Give other drivers more space, increase your stopping distances and allow extra time for your journey.