Tips for driving at night

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Tips for driving at night

18 October 2016
 Categories: , Blog

If you usually drive during the day, you may be surprised at how challenging it can be to drive safely in the evening. After the sun sets, drivers have to deal with the dazzling glare from other cars' headlights, as well as reduced visibility, which can make it harder to spot pedestrians and other road users or accurately judge distances. If you're planning a late night car journey and are concerned about coping with these issues, here is some advice which may help.    

Use your lights correctly

The correct use of your headlights will play a significant role in how easy and safe your after-dark driving experiences are. They should be used on high beam most of the time (particularly on otherwise-unlit rural roads), but should be dipped to low beam when another vehicle is driving towards you. Failing to do this could result in an approaching car driver getting dazzled by your lights, which in turn could increase the chance of their vehicle colliding with yours.

To avoid being dazzled by drivers behind you  who haven't dipped their headlights, change the angle of your rear view mirror slightly, so that the light reflecting off of it doesn't hit your eyes. It's also important to avoid looking straight at other vehicles that are approaching you, when their headlights are on high beam.

Be wary of fatigue

Whilst a driver can fall asleep behind the wheel at any time, this situation occurs most often at night. If you're used to going to bed at, say, 10pm, it can be quite difficult to stay awake past this time, simply because your body has become used to being asleep by this point in the evening.

A tired driver is almost as dangerous as a drunk driver and can cause  serious road accidents, either because they are unable to fully concentrate or because they have nodded off. As such, it's crucial to be aware of your level of energy when driving at night, and to take steps to deal with any fatigue you might be experiencing as soon as you notice it. If you have the time and can find a safe place to park, taking a brief 15-minute power-nap in your car is an excellent way to revive yourself. If this isn't an option, seek out the nearest late-night cafe or petrol station and drink two strong coffees; whilst this isn't quite as effective as napping, it can usually provide tired drivers with the boost they need to finish their journey safely.

Pack a night-appropriate emergency kit

If you do find yourself involved in a road incident at night (such as a breakdown or a minor accident) it's important to be prepared. Keeping an emergency kit with night-appropriate items in your boot could make this experience a lot less stressful and ensure that you remain safe until a towing company can reach you. Your kit should include a foil blanket (temperatures can drop very low at night and you could potentially run the risk of hypothermia if you're not wrapped up warmly), a flashlight (with spare batteries), a warning triangle (to ensure passing vehicles don't run into you or your car) and the number of a towing service.