Although there is much less traffic on the roads after dark, that doesn’t mean that you’re automatically safer. In fact, the hours of darkness account for around a third of injuries and deaths on the roads.
Young drivers, in particular, are more at risk after dark. What can you do to ensure that if you have to drive in the dark, you can do so safely?
The biggest problem of night driving is the obvious one, reduced visibility. This is compounded by the drive to save energy and cut light pollution that has led many local authorities to dim or switch off street lights in the early hours. Poor visibility makes it harder to judge speed and distance, but you can make things easier for yourself by ensuring all of your vehicle’s windows are clean and properly de-misted. Dirty and streaked glass leads to glare and makes it harder to see.
You should also make sure that all of your lights are working correctly. Turn them on at dusk rather than waiting until it’s fully dark, and keep them on for an hour after sunrise. Although many cars now have automatic lighting systems, these are not infallible, and you may need to override them occasionally. Keep in mind that if your car has daytime running lights, these operate at the front of the car only, so you need to turn your lights on as it starts to get dark.
It’s also a good idea to dim your instrument lights and make sure any interior lighting is switched off in order to cut distractions inside the car.
There are particular extra hazards at night time. Many vehicles choose to fit a truck camera from a supplier like http://www.backwatch.co.uk to record evidence in the event of an accident, but by being aware of hazards, you can avoid getting into trouble.
Other road users may behave differently at night, so give them extra time and space. If you’re on the roads around pub closing times, be aware of pedestrians who may not be paying attention to traffic as much as they would in daylight.
Watch out for vulnerable road users like cyclists, who can be harder to spot at night as not all of them use high-visibility clothing or good lighting to make themselves stand out.