A large percentage of accidents occur between 6 pm and 6 am according to stats released by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), as such motorists should understand the ramifications of night driving.
It’s important that you have you eyes checked especially if you experience difficulty seeing at night, if spectacles are required then wear them! Plan your route if possible to ensure that you have good lighting!
Other useful tips are;
- Make sure your headlights and brake lights are in proper working order. If you are towing, make sure your brake lights and indicators are connected properly and working before leaving.
- Keep your front and rear windscreens clean. Make sure your demister is working properly.
- Avoid keeping your gaze focused at a single distance, as this causes eye fatigue.
- Do not drive faster than the range of your vision – you must be able to stop at all times, within the length of the road illuminated by your headlights.
- Turn your headlights on before sunset, and keep them on after sunrise. This will make you more visible to other motorists. This is commonly referred to as lighting up
- Don’t blind other motorists. Dip your headlights well before an approaching vehicle is within range. Also dip your headlights when driving behind another vehicle. If the other driver doesn’t respond, flash the beam back to high for a second, and then dip again. Don’t retaliate by keeping your high beam on, two blinded drivers instead of one is merely doubling the danger.
- Maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle ahead of you. Remember, your reaction time may be slower at night, because you are seeing less, but required response is as per daytime.
- It is also advisable to drive according to the conditions of the road, and your abilities, so driving slower at night is a good option. This is especially critical when considering the results of a recent study by the Automobile Association of America (AAA) which suggest that halogen headlights, found in over 80 percent of vehicles on the road today, may fail to safely illuminate unlit roadways at speeds as low as 64kph.
Driving at night may be intimidating for some drivers, especially new drivers, so it is important that you are comfortable, and able, happily drive at night before embarking on a long trip which may involve a lot of night time driving.
If you are going to be driving at night, ensure you are well rested before getting behind the wheel, as being fatigued while driving is as dangerous as driving under the influence.