tips for driving in the dark

British Summer Time is officially over and the clocks have gone back, but this means motorists have to adjust to different conditions.

Every year after the clocks change it starts to get dark as early as 4pm, and yet, every year it catches us by surprise! If you’re commuting to and from work under the cover of darkness, it’s a good idea to remind yourself of how to safely drive in the dark.

Motoring expert Geraldine Herbert gives us her 10 top tips…

1. Beware of night blindness

Driving in the dark can cause a period of blind driving, so stick to well-lit roads if you can. Use the ‘night’ setting on your interior rear-view mirror and dim your dashboard lights. Check that your side mirrors are also properly aligned as this will not only reduce blind spots but will also reduce glare from cars behind you.

2. Check your lights

As winter takes hold temperatures drop and conditions on the road decline creating a number of visibility issues. Check the bulbs in your headlights and tail-lights and ensure all your lights are clean.

3. Keep windows and mirrors clean

It’s important to keep your windows clear from streaks and dirt particularly at this time of the year as fog is a common feature during the morning and evening commutes. Use a good-quality windscreen washer fluid to keep windows clean and also check your mirrors.

4. Look out for pedestrians and cyclists

At night it is harder to see pedestrians, cyclists and animals on the side of the road so be extra vigilant in built up areas and unlit stretches of road.

5. Beware of slippery roads

The onset of cold and damp conditions can change the road surface and make many manoeuvres more treacherous so ensure your speed matches the conditions.

6. Increase the distance between you and other cars

It is more difficult to judge distance at night-time so allow extra space between you and the car in front as this gives more time to react to situations ahead of you.

7. Take your time

Allow your eyes a chance to adjust to the darkness before you start driving. When on the road always drive carefully and at a speed at which you feel comfortable and in control of the car.

8. Don’t dazzle others

One of the biggest night-time hazards is the dazzle effect caused by the bright light from on-coming motors. Dip your headlights immediately when you meet other vehicles.

9. Stay alert

Make sure you are well rested as once darkness sets in your body and brain are accustomed to slowing down. It is estimated that about 20% of all serious road accidents in the UK are due to drivers falling asleep behind the wheel so take regular breaks. Every two hours get out of the car and take a 15 minute break for a stretch and some fresh air.

10. If you breakdown…

If your car breaks down in the dark, find a safe and well-lit place to stop and switch on your hazard lights and keep your sidelights on also. Move to a safe place away from the road & car to call and wait for the breakdown services.

Keyword: Tips for driving in the dark

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