How to Drive in the Dark: Tips for Safe Driving at Night

Author Name – Jack Underwood

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In the article, we have produced some excellent tips and advice to help UK drivers to improve their confidence when driving in the dark. ROSPA report that 40% of road traffic collisions happen at night- meaning it is vitally important to ensure that you and other road users stay safe. With the winter approaching, the dark nights will be upon us soon.

how to drive in the dark

Getting Ready for Night Driving

The biggest safety hazard that comes with driving in the dark is visibility. Unless you’ve managed to reach the far reaches of the countryside and avoided using any of the major motorways, the chances are there’s some sort of light around you. Make sure you use your headlights correctly- don't use your full beam if there is oncoming traffic as this will limit the oncoming driver's visibility.

Keep an emergency kit in your car. It should include a torch, water, blanket and reflective jacket. Also, make sure your lights and indicator cables are fitted, as well as an appropriate car battery. It's also a good idea to have spare bulbs and a charger for your headlights. Having a car with headlights that work should be much better than no lights at all, which will do little to warn motorists you’re there.

Tips for Driving in the Dark

  • Driving safely at night starts before you leave for your journey. When driving, have your lights on if you can.
  • Ensure your petrol or diesel is topped up.
  • Check your tyres, especially if they have little or no tread.
  • Don’t follow other cars too closely.
  • Be aware of the lights of other vehicles to check that they’re not braking or turning and that they’re in your lane.
  • Allow extra space between your car and other vehicles, even at night.
  • Never use cruise control at night unless your vehicle has a system that monitors weather conditions.
  • Pump up your tyres if the tread is much lower than the recommended level.
  • If you are driving at night, and at all times while driving, never use a mobile phone.

Further Safety Precautions

To ensure your vehicle is roadworthy, it’s advisable to take it to a garage for a pre-winter check-up. Potholes, especially in wet weather, can cause suspension and wheel failures. Check your brakes for wear, as cold weather can lead to them being less effective. If your MOT is due soon, remember to get your MOT booked in at your local National Tyres and Autocare branch.

To make sure your tyres are in good condition, look out for worn tread and check the pressure. Failing to take the necessary care could leave you with a dangerous flat tyre. 

Remember, colder temperatures mean your car’s engine will work harder to heat your car, so drivers should make sure their windscreen is clear before setting off.

Get your eyes tested

RoSPA highlights that all drivers should have an eye test every two years or more frequently if they have a history of vision loss. This includes children as well as adults, so it pays to get that all-important eye check. It’s as simple as that. Readily available at most shops and retailers such as Vision Express, you simply need to ask the optician to take a reading and you’ll be sure you haven’t any issues before setting off for any journeys in the dark. 

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