Driving at Night
Driving at night means reduced visibility and therefore requires a different kind of concentration to driving in the day, especially journeys on poorly lit country roads.
Around 90% of a person’s ability to react while driving is based on what they can see ahead of them. But at night all aspects of sight are seriously affected, from peripheral vision to colour recognition, and there is also the risk of fatigue setting in. It is for these reasons that night driving is considered more dangerous than driving in the day. In fact, statistics show that a quarter of all car accidents happen between 4pm and 9pm when it is dark.
Before you start a journey at night you should check that:
- All the lights on your car are working properly. These include the indicators, rear lights, brake lights, sidelights, headlights and main beams.
- The glass on all the lights is clean.
- Your windscreen and all other car windows are clean, inside and out.
- There are no scratches or cracks on your windscreen or windows.
- There is plenty of screenwash.
When driving at night you should:
- Always drive with extra caution, especially on poorly lit roads. Reduce your speed, increase the distance between you and any other vehicles and always be ready to stop suddenly.
- Use full beams when appropriate/possible, e.g. on country lanes or other poorly lit roads, but only if there are no other motorists ahead of you.
- Make sure you switch back to dipped headlights when another car is approaching or if you are behind another vehicle to avoid ‘blinding’ other drivers.
- Slow down and pull over safely if you become dazzled by another car’s full beams. Take a couple of minutes to regain your focus before getting back on the road.
- Look out for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and take extra care when driving past pubs, clubs and cinemas at closing time.
- Find a safe place, stop and rest if you start to feel tired when driving.
Wearing glasses/contact lenses at night
If you need to wear glasses or contact lenses when driving, especially when it is dark, you should:
- Ensure you always wear an up-to-date pair of distance spectacles or contact lenses.
- Try and keep a spare pair in the car in case you lose, brake, or forgot your usual pair.
- Avoid using glasses with tinted lenses.
- Make sure that you have your eyes examined at least once every two years.
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