Dealing with early nights and darker conditions

Dealing with early nights and darker conditions 24th November 2014

Depending on how confident you are at driving, getting on the road regardless of conditions and the time of day may seem like a breeze, but the simple reality is that driving at night can be both more challenging and more dangerous than during the day. 

Statistically, 75 per cent of all driving is done during the day. Unfortunately, when the winter comes, it starts to get darker a lot earlier at night, and driving in the dark can be unavoidable. 

With the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) stating that 40 per cent of accidents take place when it's dark, it's important, particularly at this time of year when the hours of darkness are longer, that you know how to drive in these conditions. 

  • Check your lights. This should always be the very first thing you do before you drive at night. It goes without saying that you need your lights to be able to see where you're going, so make sure they're all working, and if not, have the lights changed straight away
  • Top up the windscreen washer. Windows that look perfectly clean at night can become very difficult to see through at night with the lights of oncoming traffic shining. Dust and dirt on the outside can make it hard to see, so always make sure you have plenty of windscreen washer fluid. 
  • Clear vision. If you need glasses at some times and not others, it can be advisable to wear them at night. You will strain a lot more to see at night, and this can leave your eyes tired, particularly if your vision is not the strongest in the first place. Popping your glasses on before you set off will make sure you can see clearly at a time when visibility is already compromised by the dark.
  • Watch your lights. One of the most common reasons for accidents at night is drivers being dazzled by the lights of cars coming in the opposite direction. If you're on the road at this time, you always need to be aware of other drivers. If someone is coming towards you, make sure to use dipped headlights at all times. 
  • Be alert. In general, the best tactic to employ when you're driving at night is to be alert and aware of what's going on around you. Experts suggest scanning your line of vision regularly to keep your eyes moving in order to stop your eyes getting tired, but you also need to ensure that you are aware of everything that's going on around you at all times, particularly when it's dark and reaction times are increased. 

Posted by Danielle Barge