Safety Tips for Driving at Night in the Dark During Winter Months

Written by John

On November 1, 2021
night driving

There is no doubt that driving at night in the dark is more dangerous than in clear visibility. A survey that was conducted by ROSPA in 2017 showed that 40% of collisions occur in the hours of darkness. The study  also found that falling asleep behind the wheel was the cause of 20% of serious accidents on motorways and monotonous roads in the UK. 

motorway driving in darkOne of the reasons for increased accident rates in the dark is reduced visibility and the increased difficulty in drivers judging speed and distance in the dark. Reduced street lighting at night does not help this either. Some areas have street lights are dimmed or turned off between midnight and 5am. 

Driving in the Dark Can Pose Extra Challenges, so Stay Safe With These Tips

  • Keep windows clean to avoid increased glare and condensation.
  • Don’t dazzle others – dip your lights when facing another road user.
  • Help drivers see you in twilight by turning your headlights on before sunset and keeping them on for an hour after sunrise.
  • Have your eyes checked regularly for problems which can affect your night vision.
  • Be aware that other road users may behave erratically, so be prepared to give them more space.
  • Watch out for pedestrians, especially near pubs and clubs around closing time.
  • Allow more time for your own journey, so you’re not driving under pressure.
  • If you can, dim your dashboard lights and reduce reflections and avoid reducing your night vision.

Eye Health and Driver Safety 

You can do your part to stay safe driving at night by having your eyesight checked regularly. A test  will highlight any eye problems such as glaucoma as this may affect night vision. 

Never wear dark or tinted lenses for night driving.

So When Should You Turn On Your Headlights? 

It is advised that you should turn on your headlights before sunset and also keep them on for an hour after sunrise, to make you more visible to others in twilight. 

Make sure that your lights are clean and in good working order.  We would advise not to use your interior lights as they can cause reflections from your windscreen.

How to Cope With Headlight Glare

night driving safetyWhilst driving at night on rural roads, due to lack of street lights you should use the main beam (also known as full beam) whenever possible. However, you should turn your light back to dipped headlights when you see an oncoming vehicle or have been overtaken by someone travelling faster to avoid dazzling them. 

If you are dazzled by an oncoming vehicle avoid looking at the lights, even though your eyes may be drawn to look at them. Keep looking down and left towards the curb, but be sure not to steer left, hold your wheel straight and keep to a steady speed. Try to keep your speed steady and not reduce your speed and then speed up again as this is very confusing for drivers behind you. You would be much better driving at 45mph and sticking to that even if at times you could go quicker. This will also give you better fuel consumption, by maintaining a steady speed.

Of course, you will also need to ensure that your vehicle is safe. Have you downloaded your free vehicle safety checklist yet?

Do you have any tips on driving at night? Share them below in the comments.

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