Driving at night

Date posted: October 31, 2012

Although we were promised an extra hour in bed last weekend thanks to the clocks going back, Britain is now promised long, dark nights and a change in driving conditions during the evening, as visibility of the roads begin to reduce around 4pm.

If you usually drive home or travel between the hours of 5pm and 7pm then you’ll notice that road conditions will have changed significantly; not only will the visibility of the road will be reduced but the ability of other road users to see you will also be impacted.

What’s more, alongside dealing with darkness is the additional trouble of driving on roads affected by the weather, and there’s no doubt that we’ll be seeing a spot of snow sometime soon!

We’ve put together some top tips on how to drive safely at night, especially when the winter weather makes for especially dangerous driving conditions…

Before your journey

If you’re planning on using your car throughout the day and will be driving home at night then check that you car lights are completely clean.

Wash off any dirt or debris from all of your lights; lights covered in dirt will prove to be ineffective and they will limit your view of the road.

Use the dark to your advantage

Despite visibility being significantly reduced at night, you’ll be able to see another vehicle coming a lot sooner than you would if it was daytime.

If you’re driving behind a car during the dark then you can use their rear lights to paint a path of the road. However, it’s important that you keep a fair distance between you and the car ahead in case they suddenly have to brake.

Pay attention to the roads at all times and use road lights and lights from other cars to look out for oncoming obstructions.

Driving through urban areas at night

Always used dipped headlights when driving in built-up areas during nighttime.

Keep a lookout for pedestrians in urban areas and approach pedestrian crossings with caution.

If you’re not familiar with the area you’re driving through then shave off your speed a little and drive with extra precaution. To warn other road users or pedestrians or your presence, flash your car lights as opposed to sounding your horn. Your can only be used for emergencies during the hours of 11:30pm and 7am.

Overtaking at night

Overtaking another vehicle at night can be extremely risky and is not advised. Only overtake if you’re absolutely certain that the road ahead is clear of any vehicles, pedestrians and obstructions. Check the road the ahead is actually straight as corners and bends could creep up on your unexpectedly.

If you perform an overtake then automatically switch your lights to full beam – if there are no vehicles ahead of you – so you can have full view of the road ahead.

If a vehicle overtakes you then switch your full beams to dipped headlights only when the car is level with you so that they can use the extra light from your full beams to perform the overtake safely.

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