Your guide to driving safely after dark

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Driving in the dark requires even more skill and awareness on your part, so here’s everything you need to know

Research shows us that driving after dark is generally much more dangerous than driving during the day, and therefore requires more focus and concentration from the driver. In fact, a Department of Transport study found that almost a third of all road injuries and deaths occur between 7pm and 7am, despite these hours only accounting for 15% of vehicle miles.

This is due to debilitating issues such as reduced visibility and difficulty judging speed and distance. This means that drivers have to take further care at night, which involves implementing a few extra precautions. In this article, the team at Bull Barrier offer a quick guide to driving safely in the dark.

Put your headlights on with plenty of time

It won’t come as a surprise to anyone to hear that driving safely at night first and foremost involves switching on your headlights. Not only does this boost your visibility, but it also makes you more visible to other drivers too. In fact, it’s advised that you turn your headlights on with plenty of time — switch them on an hour before sunset and leave them on until an hour after sunrise. This will make it easier for other drivers to see you in the twilight.

Make sure you don’t dazzle others

But make sure your lights aren’t full beam when faced with other drivers. These lights are useful on rural roads, but it’s important to dip them if you come into contact with another vehicle so that you don’t dazzle the driver and obscure their vision even further. If you find yourself dazzled by another vehicle, maintain a steady speed and avoid looking directly into the headlights.

Keep your windows clean and clear

It’s even more important to make sure your car windows are clean, clear and streak-free when driving in the dark. This means cleaning them regularly both inside and out.

Dirty windows increase the glare you get from other vehicles and are more prone to steaming up.

Make preparations for other drivers

Always remember that other drivers might not be as sensible as you, and being prepared is particularly crucial when your visibility is obscured. Allow yourself the option of giving other road users more space to let them pass without disrupting you any more than they need to.

Keep an eye out for pedestrians

There are less likely to be a lot of pedestrians out and about at night, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your eyes peeled for anyone who might still be wandering around. Your vision won’t be as clear as it is during the day, so watch out for people, particularly around pub and club closing times.

Allow more time for your journey and take regular breaks

One of the worst things you can do when driving at all, but especially in the dark, is to drive too fast. A lack of clear vision means you need to give yourself as much time as possible to prepare for what’s in front of you, and this means keeping to a sensible speed that’s well within the legal limit.

To encourage yourself to do this, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to complete your journey. This should include enough time to give yourself regular breaks should you need them, as driving after dark is likely to make you more tired.

There are safety concerns involved in any kind of conditions, so it’s important that your road safety knowledge is up to scratch.