The winter months are upon us, which means frosty mornings, colder days and darker evenings. In fact, did you know the end of October is the start of one of the most difficult times of year to be driving? This is shown in data provided by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), as they have stated each year when the clocks go back, there’s an immediate increase in the number of vulnerable road users killed or seriously injured.
Here at CarCliq, we’ve put together the essential tips to ensure you’re ready to conquer driving in the dark.
Night-time driving essentials
First, let’s make sure you’ve got your night driving essentials…
If you, unfortunately, experience a breakdown during the night, your trusty torch will come in handy when inspecting your car’s engine or if you need to change your tyre.
2. Blanket or warm clothing.
When you’re stranded or waiting for your saviour, we advise having something with you to keep warm.
3. A charged phone and your charger.
In case of an emergency, it’s very important to have a charged phone with you to ensure you can get in contact with someone.
4. An ice-scraper and de-icer.
When the temperature drops, unfortunately, this means scrapping the ice off your car windows season. To be quick and fast, make sure to have your ice-scraper or de-icer with you.
Using your lights:
- Did you know it’s illegal to drive at night without functioning front and rear lights? This makes it even more crucial for you to conduct regular light checks. To properly check your lights are working, keep your car stationary and turn on your hazard lights and check your other main ones – such as fog lights, main beams or indicators.
- When using your dipped headlights put them on an hour before sunset and keep them on an hour after sunrise – this is so you’re always visible to other road users.
- On unlit country roads, be sure to use your main beams to help you see the road layout, although remember to switch to your dipped headlights if you encounter other road users, so you don’t dazzle them.
Keeping your windows clean:
- By having a build-up of condensation from the inside of your car and dirt on the outside, this can impair your visibility of the road. It is important to keep these as clean as possible before you set off on your commute.
Watch out for vulnerable road users:
- Vulnerable road users can be from pedestrians to cyclists to even animals during this time of the year, it is extremely important to take care when driving around schools and residential areas. Reduce your speed so you have more time to react.
- When cyclists are about, they can be difficult to spot, especially if they aren’t wearing reflective clothing. When driving in the dark make sure you’re using the right lights.
- Driving through country lanes can mean more animals darting out in front of your car, as this is where most nocturnal creatures are active. We advise you to keep your speed low and always be vigilant of our furry friends!
Get your eyes tested:
- If you notice you’re experiencing eyesight problems, the solution is to simply book an appointment with your local opticians to make sure you’re wearing the correct glasses for driving at night.
- If you notice you’re struggling to see traffic signs, your optician may recommend an anti-reflection coating on your lenses to reduce glare from oncoming vehicles and traffic lights.
Staring at oncoming vehicles:
- During these months, the “dazzle” effect can increase. To prevent being dazzled, never look directly at the headlights of other road users, as the glare can, in fact, impair your vision.
- We suggest focusing on looking to the left-hand side of the road and to follow the white line marking the edge (this is to keep track of your position).
- If you’re experiencing extreme glare, slow down your speed.
Driving when tired:
- The bonus of this time of the year is that we’re graced with an extra hour in bed! However, seasonal changes can also affect your sleeping patterns. This is because of an hour less of light in the evenings, can higher your melatonin levels, leaving you feeling sleepier.
- Driving tired can be as dangerous as drink-driving, so if you’re feeling drowsy, stop and take a break. Find more information about driving tired here.
If by using these tips you’re still feeling uneasy about driving in the dark, it’s always great to continue learning by taking a Pass Plus course – as within one of their modules, it contains night driving.
For more CarCliq guides click here