Autumn has arrived which means shorter days and less daylight hours. It also means an overall change in driving conditions. It starts to get darker much earlier, and there are more rainy down pours. Not too long after, this is followed by the frosty weather conditions of winter. This means that drivers have to start being extra cautious when on the road, particularly when driving in the dark. Here are our top tips on driving in the dark safely.
1.Look after your eye health
Make sure to get regular eye check-ups to have a full understanding of the conditions of your eyes. It is advised that you have an eye test once every two years at least, or sooner if you notice any changes to your eye health. If you have any kind of refractive error, it is important that you wear corrective prescription glasses or contact lenses as prescribed by your optician. As well as getting your eyes checked regularly, you should also make sure to maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet. Bad habits such as smoking can have a negative impact on your eye health.
2.Do not drive when you are tired
Driving when you are tired or not 100% alert will lower your response time and control you have over the wheel. Visibility is also significantly affected in the dark, so it is important you are able to be fully vigilant. Certain medications may also be made with a drowsy formula and significantly reduce your ability to drive safely. Avoid taking drowsy formula medications before driving and when possible, ask someone else to be behind the wheel. It is highly advisable that if you are having difficulty staying focused, that you stop and take a rest on the side of the road before continuing your journey.
3.Keep distractions to a minimum
You should always make sure to do this when driving during the day, but as you have to be extra vigilant when driving in the dark, make sure you have minimal distractions whilst driving. Turn off your phone and do not take calls whilst driving, that includes using wireless earbuds, or have set your phone to loudspeaker. Also ask any passengers not to distract you while driving and keep the radio low.
You are more likely to encounter drivers engaging in risky behaviours such as drunk driving or driving under the influence of toxic substances at night compared to the during the day. Look out for behaviours from other drivers that seem out of the ordinary such as driving too fast, driving too slowly, swerving, failing to signal or stalling.
Allow more time for journeys at night, so are not rushing or engaging in risky behaviours on the road because you feel under pressure to get somewhere.
5.Keep your windows and mirrors clean
Make sure that your line of sight and your mirrors are clean of any dirt and smudges, to ensure you have a clear field of vision. Keep windows clean to avoid increased glare and condensation. It is going to be even harder to spot pedestrians, bike riders and motorcyclists in the dark, especially if they are not wearing reflective clothing, so make sure all points of vision are clean and clear.
6.Watch your lights
The RAC recommends that you use dipped beam lights at all times when in urban areas. In most other areas, it is okay to put your lights on full beam – remembering to dip your lights when another motorist is coming from the opposite direction. This is essential otherwise you could dazzle other motorists with bright lights and affect their vision, possibly resulting in an accident.
7.Drive with caution in harsher conditions
Winter can bring harsh conditions such as snow, sleet, ice, hail, heavy down pours and fog. Drive slower and more carefully in these conditions, particularly when driving at night. Pay close attention to weather warnings and avoid driving altogether if possible.
8.Eat lots of carrots
We’re just kidding! Carrots do not help you to see in the dark. They do though, contain a high amount of Vitamin A which play a vital role in maintaining good vision. Citrus fruits such as lemons and grapefruits also contain vital antioxidants Vitamin E and C. Fish such as tuna, salmon, trout, sardines and mackerel also contain omega-3-rich fish oils. While you won’t be able to see better in the dark, it will certainly help keep your eyes healthy which is just as important.
The main point to remember when driving in the dark is to remain vigilant and be extra careful at all times to avoid accidents.