Darker nights are approaching – here are our top 9 tips for surviving

Nov 8, 2021 | All About Cars | 0 comments

Winter is fast approaching, meaning the temperature is going to plummet, the roads are going to become more treacherous, and the darker nights are going to make it more difficult to navigate. Adjusting to new driving conditions can be challenging, and can cause serious accidents, which is why we’ve compiled a list of our top tips for not so confident or experienced drivers to help them drive in the darker nights.

Check your lights, and then double-check them

Visibility is automatically decreased in the winter months, and lights are essential to ensure not only you can see but so other drivers can see you too. Ensure both your headlights and taillights are functioning properly, and that they are clean. If one of your lights is out then you will likely get stopped by the police, so be sure to check the bulbs are working regularly.

As for using your lights, it’s advised to turn your dipped headlights on approximately an hour before sunset and an hour after sunrise. Use your full beam on darker country lanes that don’t have street lighting, but be sure to switch them back to the dipped beam if you see another oncoming vehicle, as otherwise, this could dazzle them. 

Keep your eyes on your side of the road

This is general road safety etiquette, but especially in the dark, you don’t want to be staring at the car coming towards you and be dazzled by their lights. This will temporarily impair your vision and potentially cause you to crash. If you do get dazzled, don’t stop abruptly as this can cause any vehicle behind you to crash into the back of you. Instead, slow down gradually.

Ensure your windows and mirrors are clean

Especially in the winter months, windscreens are known for building up with condensation, so it’s important you demist your windscreen before setting off. If your windscreen is frozen, ensure it is all scraped off and removed. You should also buy windscreen washer fluid for use in the winter months as this will be tougher on dirt and grime that builds up on your windscreens.

Watch out for cyclists, animals and pedestrians

It’s important to drive down country lanes, around residential areas and schools with extra care and attention at this time of year, so you can react quickly.

Take into account the weather

If it’s been raining, this will make the road surface more slippery, meaning your braking distance needs to be increased. Manoeuvres can be made more difficult too, so ensure your speed matches the conditions.

Don’t drive if you’re tired

Tiredness can kill. Your reactions won’t be as quick and this can endanger other road users and pedestrians. If you’re having to take a long journey then make sure you include rest stops at least every two hours and buy a caffeinated drink to keep you alert. If you’re feeling really tired, then taking a nap is no harm too.

Increase the distance between you and other cars

With road conditions becoming more hazardous, and the darkness naturally putting a strain on your eyes, it’s best to keep two car lengths of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you so you have enough reaction time.

Take your time

Always go at a speed you feel comfortable with and in which you feel in control of the vehicle. Again, your eyes can take time to adjust due to the constantly reducing light levels, so if you’re experiencing real problems, it’s a good idea to go and get your eyes checked to be certain there are no underlying vision problems.

Move to a well lit place if you breakdown

If you break down and become stranded, try and locate a safe and well lit place to stop, switch on your hazard lights and call the breakdown services. It’s always a smart idea to keep a blanket in your boot and a torch too. 

So there you have it: our top winter driving advice. If you’ve been seeking for a night driving guide, hopefully this has been of assistance and will help you gain confidence when driving at night.