In this article we give you thirteen tips for safe night-time driving. At this stage of the summer we can already notice that the days are getting shorter. This means that some drivers have to drive at night before or after their working day.
Driving in adverse weather conditions increases the risk of accidents. Nevertheless, we should remember that most traffic accidents happen during the day.
Driving at night reduces your visibility. We get 90% of traffic information through our eyes. Brightness, the ability to make out colours, and sharpness of vision are three processes that are all affected at night. This is because both our brains and our eyes are under greater strain when they have to act efficiently and quickly in the face of difficult circumstances.
To make your night-time driving safer, here are some tips:
It’s important to make sure your vehicle’s lights are working properly. If you usually drive when there’s less light, it would be a good idea to check your lights more often. To make things more comfortable and safer, install smart lights, an infrared night vision system, xenon or LED lights.
Similarly, make sure your lights are at the right height so you can see without blinding other drivers.
It is important to be aware of using your lights and how to use them properly so you can have a good field of vision. Dipped beams must always be on at sunrise and sunset. If road and traffic conditions allow, turn on your full beams if you have low visibility. You must only turn these lights on when there aren’t any other vehicles to the side or in front of your vehicle as, otherwise, you may disturb other drivers.
Remember that lights aren’t just so you can see but so you can be seen without disturbing other road users.
To avoid driving without blinding light it is very important to make sure your inside and outside rear views mirrors are in the correct position. Always remember to take other drivers into consideration when using both fog lights and dipped beam and full beam lights.
The best way to avoid scares is by looking in all your mirrors regularly. They will allow you to detect other vehicles or objects on the roadway and adjust your driving accordingly.
Keeping a safe distance between you and other vehicles is very important in the daytime and especially so at night. This should never be less than three seconds of braking from the vehicle in front of you. This will give you more time to react in the event anything unexpected happens.
Although the roads may be quieter at night than normal, that doesn’t mean you can drive at top speed and ignore traffic signs. Night-time is when you should be most aware of your speed because you will need to be able to bring the car to a complete stop within the distance of your lights in the event anything happens.
You must be rested to drive. It is advisable to take a break every hour and a half when driving at night. Get out the car, go for a short walk, and get your circulation going. If you need to have a coffee, do so. This will allow you to continue on your way safely.
The dashboard and other items inside the vehicle must use dim lights so you can better see what’s outside.
Do not drive with the interior light on. The contrast between inside and outside the vehicle will reduce your visibility.
Having the windscreen and rear window clean will give you better daytime visibility. It will also avoid distracting reflections at night.
One of the most common tips for night-time driving is to turn on the radio, listen to your favourite music, and open the windows every now and again. It will wake you up and stop you falling asleep.
If you can’t see because of bright lights, drive on the right-hand side of your lane, slow down, and turn your head to the right. If necessary, shut your left eye to avoid looking at any possible car headlights that are blinding you.
If you have to drive while it’s raining, the best thing to do is stop in a safe place to clean the lights and windows which may have become covered in dust or mud. This dirt may reduce your visibility by half.
Some people prefer driving at night because there is less traffic so they can enjoy more relaxed and faster driving. Speed, though, must always be within the limits.
The vehicle must be in working order and you should plan ahead for your journey to be sure of your itinerary, the weather conditions, rest areas, and the state of the roads, amongst other important issues. It is also important that you are in good shape, not suffering any aches or pains or tired.
As you can see, there are a lot of factors that affect the safety of night-time driving. We would advise you, for your own safety and for other drivers’ safety, to take all necessary precautions and follow these tips for driving at night to make your journeys safer.