Summer is officially over and the nights are drawing in. Whilst we’re more than used to chilly dark evenings in the UK, when it comes to driving under these conditions, many of us don’t take the extra precautions we should to stay safe on the roads at night.
Here are some of the most effective ways to keep you, your vehicle and other road users safe if you’re driving at night.
This might sound like we’re starting with an obvious one, but at nighttime it’s more vital than ever to ensure your windscreen is kept clean from marks and dirt. If you’re driving and a car is travelling in the opposite direction with its headlights on, chances are your dirty windscreen will obstruct your view significantly as the light shines on it.
To clean your windscreen, use a glass cleaner and microfiber cloth. Spray the cleaner onto your windscreen from the outside and then wipe off any residue with paper towels. This will give you a professional, streak-free finish – perfect for nighttime driving!
Top Tip: try to avoid smoking in your car, as this creates a ‘film’ across your windscreen that can heavily affect your visibility.
When it gets dark, visibility gets inevitably and significantly lower. Avoid driving faster than you feel comfortable with, and always observe the speed limit. Keep at sensible speeds after sunset, especially if you’re driving along an unlit country road which may have hidden hazards such as blind crests and bends.
At night, your interior lights are much more noticeable to other drivers than during the day. They can also cause reflections in your windows which can make it difficult for you to see outside. Only use them if you absolutely need to.
If you’re on a road that’s not particularly well lit, chances are the view past the car ahead of you will be limited. Once you’ve drawn level with the vehicle you’re overtaking, flick your full beams on to fully illuminate the area give you a better idea of the road ahead. If in doubt, don’t overtake.
Top Tip: don’t use your full beams if there are any vehicles ahead of you, as this could cause the drivers to become dazzled.
There’s always someone who forgets to turn their full beams off when driving past another vehicle. If you encounter one of these vehicles coming towards you, try to look slightly to the left of the road, whilst still keeping your visibility clear. This will help to minimise how much of the light your eyes take in, meaning that you won’t be as dazzled for as long.
Many vehicles now have anti-dazzle functions (either manual or electronic) on their interior mirrors so this problem can be reduced. Be sure to use these functions if they are available in order to reduce the risk.