Driving at Night Time: Safety Tips and Precautions
Driving can be more dangerous at night if you don’t adjust your habits accordingly. With drastically reduced visibility, you won’t have as much warning of impending hazards – or as much time to respond to them.
Take the right approach, though, and driving at night can be relaxing and enjoyable. Here are five tips to bear in mind before you jump behind the wheel for your first night-time miles.
Use your headlights correctly
Headlights aren’t just there for you to be able to see where you’re going – they’re there to help other motorists see you coming. With that in mind, make sure your headlights are on before it gets dark; visibility reduces as sunset approaches, so even if you can see the road ahead perfectly well, other motorists might not be able to spot you quite so easily if they’re pulling out of a side road or going for an overtake.
Once darkness falls, you’ll of course need your lights to actually see where you’re going. On unlit roads, you may want to turn on your high beam lights for a better view of the road ahead, but make sure you turn them off if you have a car approaching you on the opposite side of the road. Why? Because your high beams will be pointing straight ahead and into the approaching drivers’ eyes, dazzling them and risking an accident.
Speed limits are just that – limits. They’re not there to tell you how fast you should be going regardless of conditions. That’s for you to determine.
So, if you’re on a national speed limit B-road and it’s pitch black, don’t think you’re expected to go 60 mph – you can drive a little slower. You should travel at a speed you’re comfortable with, taking into account the reduced visibility you have at night. It’s always better to take your time and arrive safely, especially if you’re driving on roads you don’t know.
If your car has a bright, flashing CD player or gauges which are lighting up the windscreen and creating nasty reflections, try and turn the interior lighting down if you can when it’s dark outside. You’ll want a clear view of the road ahead, and reflections can severely hamper visibility in certain circumstances.
Keep your windows clean
This one’s vitally important. Your windows might seem alright when the sun’s beating down, but the piercing glare of oncoming headlights can show up smears and marks.
In other words, even if you think your windscreen looks fine, make sure it’s clean before you head out into the darkness. You also need to check that you’ve got plenty of screenwash, as driving at night without it can present a serious safety hazard. If your screen gets dirty and you’ve no way of cleaning it on the move, you might end up effectively driving blind.
Know when to call it a night
If you’re getting sleepy, don’t think you can just tough it out and soldier on. At the very least, pull over and drink some coffee or an energy drink to give yourself a little boost – and if you have a long way still to travel, park up somewhere safe for a nap.
Driving tired is simply not worth it. It can be extremely dangerous for yourself and other road users, so knowing when to call it a night is crucial.
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