Driving at night can be a daunting task. Even experienced drivers do not always enjoy it. With reduced visibility comes a higher risk of accidents as it is difficult to see approaching hazards.
However, there are many things you can do to lower the risks. Driving responsibly and safely is always a must, but here are some tips and tricks to keep you safe after dark.
Before setting off:
Plan in advance
Planning can seem like a chore, but once you’re on the road you’ll be grateful for your forward thinking. Decide on your route well before setting off, and try to schedule rest breaks at least every two hours. If you’re travelling with a companion, consider sharing the driving duties; that way you won’t have to stay awake the whole time.
If you’re driving for work, be aware of your company’s driver hours and safe driving policies. It’s also worth planning your journey with your line manager just to be sure you’re sticking to the rules.
Rest well before the journey, and book overnight stops in advance. Try to avoid driving when you’d usually be asleep as that increases your chances of falling asleep at the wheel.
Most importantly, listen to your body! If you begin to feel tired, stop the car as soon as possible. Have a short nap, drink a strong coffee and then you can be well on your way again.
You should check your lights as part of your regular vehicle maintenance routine to make sure they’re all in working order. Your lights are there for your safety and the safety of those around you, so be diligent about checking them before you go on a long drive. It is actually illegal to drive at night without fully functioning front and rear lights, so keep a spare bulb or two in your glove box.
Some headlights are pointed lower than necessary, and this will reduce your view of the road. Use your owner’s manual to help you figure out how to aim them properly, but be careful – make sure your newly positioned lights won’t blind oncoming traffic.
You can look into installing extra lights on your vehicle for enhanced visibility. Fog lights are useful as they are aimed as low as possible and the beam spreads wider than typical low beams so you can see further. You can get other auxiliary lights, but most are only meant to supplement your high beams or are intended for off road use. Check the legality of your lights before installing them.
Keep it clean
Dirty grubby surfaces lend themselves to glare – this can affect you and your fellow road users. To prevent glare, avoid touching surfaces such as the windscreen or exterior mirrors with your fingers, as they contain oil. Instead, wipe the exterior of your windshield with newspaper to polish and reduce glare. Use a cotton or microfiber cloth for the interior.
Clean your exterior lights in a similar way, and aim the exterior mirrors lower for night time drives so that you can keep the light out of your eyes while you’re driving.
Driving at night
Drop in visibility
Ever been driving along, and something just appears in front of you? Don’t worry, it happens to all of us. However, a responsible driver should be prepared for such events, so keep an eye out.
Animals on the road are a huge hazard. However, you can often see the reflections of headlights in an animal’s eyes long before you see the animal itself. Look out for pairs of tiny bright spots on the road, and slow down as quickly as you can. Don’t try to manoeuvre around the animal, as many will just follow your lights and stand in front of the car.
When the road is empty and the lights are flashing by, it’s easy to forget about the speed limit. Drive at a speed that allows you to spot those unexpected hazards and react accordingly without endangering those around you.
This time we’re talking about interior lights. If they’re too bright they’ll distract you and compromise your forward vision. You want to be able to see everything, so turn those map lights off and remember to dim your dashboard for optimum visibility.
Lights outside of the car are also a hazard of night-time driving. It’s easy to get distracted by staring into a bright road light or be dazzled by oncoming vehicles. Turn your gaze away from these light sources where possible and don’t let yourself drift towards them.
Wear your glasses
Many drivers are told to wear glasses for driving at night, but we’re willing to bet that not many of them do. Wearing your correct prescription glasses can help your night time visibility, and spot hazards much earlier. Some say that yellow lens glasses make you see better, but really your tailor-made specs are best, especially if they have an anti-reflective coating!
So there you have it, some quick tips for night time driving!
If you want to find out about our new cars, head down to your local Perrys dealer today!