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Driving at Night

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 28 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Driving At Night Night Driving Night

Night driving can be an entirely different experience from driving during the day. Darkness means that your peripheral vision, perception, recognition and reactions are all less sharp than during the daytime.

It requires a whole new set of skills and you must be even more alert at night than during the day.

If you're planning on night driving, you should familiarise yourself with some of the dangers and also some of the best ways of handling driving in the dark. Remember that crash risks increase during the hours of darkness, so for your own safety and that of others, take extra care.

Preparing Yourself for Night Driving

If you know that you're going to be driving at night, you should ensure that you're fully prepared for the trip. It is common sense to make sure that you're fully rested before setting off as it's far easier to become sleepy in darkness than in daylight. Many people overlook the importance of getting extra rest before travelling at night. They also don't pay attention to continual warning signs and recommendations that you rest every two hours while travelling, especially at night.

To prepare for night driving and to stay safe:

  • Take at least a 15 minute break every 2 hours
  • Ensure you have rested before setting off
  • Take some sweets to suck in the car, they'll keep you awake
  • Pack water to drink when you stop to rest. It'll keep you hydrated and focused
  • Listen to music that energises you

Taking time to look after yourself when you're driving at night means your mind will stay active and alert and you'll be well prepared to deal with any possible hazards on the trip.

Preparing Your Car for Night Driving

With night time driving, it isn't only yourself that you need to prepare, you need to also ensure that your car is up to the challenges of avoiding dangers at night. More drivers and pedestrians are a hazard at night as they may be tired, less focused or may even have been drinking. This means that as a responsible driver, it's your place to ensure your car can handle the road and that you're in full control of it. To keep your car road safe at night:

  • Always use your headlights and tail lights when it's dark. Put them on at sunset, or as soon as the light starts to fade due to poor weather conditions. This makes it less likely that you'll forget to put them on later.
  • Watch out for being dazzled by the lights of other cars. If you can, get an anti-dazzle rear view mirror. If you can't and another vehicle's lights dazzle you, pull over where possible to let your eyes recover.
  • Be more alert for road signs and warnings. They may be more difficult to see at night, so reflector strips on them are generally the easiest way to spot them.
  • Reduce your speed where possible and ensure you're leaving extra space between you and the car in front.
  • Keep your car headlights clean as well as your windows. Glare from other vehicle's lights on a dirty windscreen can cause problems in the dark.

The most important point to remember about night time driving is to be alert. Do all you can to decrease your chance of collision and stay focused on the road ahead. If you're mentally and physically prepared and have checked your vehicle, you should be able to have a safe journey regardless of the time of day or night it is.

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