Night time driving is unavoidable, especially during the winter when the nights are drawing in earlier than ever. Driving in the dark can be a daunting experience, even for those who have done it before. Humans are diurnal, rather than nocturnal, so driving in the dark is unnatural for us and something we will probably never get used to entirely.
The main thing about driving in the dark is your reduced visibility. We rely on artificial lighting to help us see where we are going, which isn’t ideal but here are some top night time driving tips to help you along the way.
Check all the lights
This might be spelling out the obvious, but it’s absolutely necessary to check that all your lights are fully functional. This includes headlights, full beam, fog and brake lights.
When traffic is passing you by from the opposite direction, it’s tempting to look right into the light, but you should avoid this as much as possible and look elsewhere to save yourself from being dazzled by the lights.
Smudges and smears
Once light is shone onto the car, any marks or smears will be shown up and could distort your view when driving. Make sure you clean all external windows and mirrors before setting off to avoid this from happening.
Almost 90% of your reaction ability while driving relies on sight. Considering this, it is important to go for regular eye tests at your opticians. This will check the overall health of the eyes and if you do need glasses, they can recommend certain coatings to help with glare, such as an anti-reflective coating.
Long distance driving
When driving long journeys, you must take regular breaks whenever you feel you need to. Drinking caffeine based drinks will also help keep any tiredness at bay, but shouldn’t be used as a distraction from sleep; if you feel the need to sleep, pull over and have a rest.
Pedestrians and cyclists
It will be harder to spot these in the dark. They should be wearing reflective clothing and/or have lights on their bike or body, but if they don’t just be aware as possible.
When safe (and necessary), you should drive with full beam lights on, i.e when driving on a country lane that isn’t lit. Obviously, you should turn them off for oncoming traffic or other road users, so you don’t completely dazzle them, and turn them back on as soon as the obstacle has moved on. Should you experience being dazzled yourself, drop your speed down and try and focus your gaze on the side of the left-hand kerb.
Leave more of a space between vehicles when driving at night time. There is more chance of driver being under the influence of alcohol and giving cars a wide berth will help give you more time to react, should something happen.
Hopefully reading our top tips has given you some useful advice to help you when you are next driving at night, but the most valued piece of advice we can offer is to take extra care and caution with everything you do when driving in the dark.