Driving at night is a very different proposition from driving in daylight.
Judging speeds and distances is harder and the human instinct to sleep when its dark doesn’t fall by the wayside just because you have a journey to make.
Ironically, driving in the dark is more tiring than driving during the day, so there is a serious double whammy threat of falling asleep at the wheel.
Peter Rodger, the top advanced driver at the motoring charity the Institute of Advanced Motorists, offers the following tips to safer night driving.
l Turn on your headlights before sunset and for an hour after sunrise so that it’s easier for other drivers to see you in twilight.
l Make sure all your exterior lights are clean and working properly.
l Clean all your windows, inside and out. Dirty windows will increase glare.
l Properly aligned mirrors will reduce dazzle as well as blind spots. Reduce glare further by making sure they are clean.
l Turn off the interior lights and dim the dashboard if you can. This will cut down on interior reflections.
l Read the road ahead. Glimmers of light at the top of hills and at bends could be the headlights of other vehicles.
l Always be able to stop your vehicle within the distance you can see to be clear.
l On rural roads, drive on full beam whenever possible but dip your lights when faced with another road user to avoid dazzling them.
l Use the light shed by vehicles ahead or from roadside lights – not just street lights – to help you see further ahead.
l Take plenty of breaks. Night driving is tiring so you’ll need to give yourself and your eyes a rest.
Rodger said: “Driving in the dark isn’t all danger and drawbacks, but remember speed is more difficult to judge in the dark, especially approach speeds, so take care. And remember, stop and sleep when you need to.”