No matter where you are in the world; night-time is an inevitability. Some nights are lighter than others, but every so often, night-time driving visibility gets so slim that driving in the dark can feel unnerving.

According to the National Safety Council, the risk of a crash is three times greater at night. There are several contributing factors for this:

At this time of year, driving in the dark is sometimes unavoidable thanks to the shorter daylight hours. Rush hour for many people during the winter months takes place under the cover of darkness, whether it’s in the morning or evening. Factor in the fatigue brought on by night driving, the actions of other drivers, and compromised night vision then you could have a dangerous situation.

This piece will cover some advice around night-time driving, acting as the perfect guide* for both beginners and seasoned drivers alike.

how to drive in the dark: our top tips

before you drive

There are several things you can do before you even take to the road. Firstly, don't set off if you are feeling under the weather or are considering driving tired. Night driving can be disorientating for anyone but can be detrimental if you are not feeling 100% before you get behind the wheel.

on the road: speed and lighting

Think about your speed for a moment. Your depth perception and peripheral vision can be compromised in the dark, and there’s a chance that the headlights of an oncoming vehicle could temporarily disorientate your vision.

The speed limit is not a target; it is simply a guide. Your headlights at night will give you around 250ft of vision (500ft with full-beams) — if you’re travelling at 60mph your overall stopping distance is 240ft, so it’s essential that you cut your speed.

The majority of new cars have adjustable headlights and you’ll soon be able to see if yours are aimed correctly. If they aren’t, pull over safely into a lay-by and adjust as necessary. If you have the option to dim your dashboard, then do so as the in-car lighting can also be a distraction.

combatting fatigue

It’s a worrying statistic that 1 in 25 adult drivers have admitted to falling asleep at the wheel at some point. If your journey is unavoidable then it’s important to take as many rest stops as possible. The distance between service stations in the UK allows drivers to pull over at least once every couple of hours for a rest break. If you know in advance that you are going to undertake some night-time driving, make sure you get as much sleep as possible beforehand.

Even if the road is familiar to us, driving at night is always more dangerous. Taking heed of the advice above and all other information during Road Safety Week 2018 will make the roads a safer place, day and night.

practice makes perfect

If “I hate driving in the dark” is a statement you often make, the solution might just revolve around your lack of experience.

Although it may feel odd, getting out in your car at night-time to get some practice driving in can be very beneficial for nervous drivers. Although unorthodox, the logic is sound: drivers have no qualms with driving at daytime, so why not replicate it at night?

If you’re anxious, it helps to ask a friend to venture out with you. Once you’ve finished your practice, there’s always the option of a late-night trip to the drive through as a reward.

clean your windows and mirrors

Visibility is always important when driving, especially at night-time. The number one culprit with impeding your visibility comes down to your car itself, specifically its windows and mirrors.

Whether it’s condensation, scratches or smudges, anything that clouds your vision can become greatly exaggerated in the dark due to the increased number of lights from other cars, streetlamps, and road signs.

In addition, night-time tends to be colder than other periods of the day, meaning that the risks of condensation are significantly increased. Putting your blowers on high can be a temporary fix, but, over time, you’ll find that all this does is create a cloudy layer on top, making glare a real risk.

driving tips and guidance from

No matter if you’re a lifelong driver, or a first-timer fresh off their test, there’s always room for improvement with driving. Brush up on your skills and get the low-down on the latest car trends, news and advice right here on our blog.  

*This information is provided for guidance only.

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