Driving at night, whether in the countryside or in a town with streetlights can feel very different to driving in the daytime. It comes with its own set of risks and can be tiring with the strain of trying to see in darkness.
Many drivers of new and used cars avoid driving after dark and there is debate about preventing new drivers from driving at night in a bid to decrease the number of accidents.
If you understand the risks and take steps to minimise them, you should be able to drive safely at night. Prepare for driving at night by checking your front and rear lights are working.
Clean your windscreens, windows and mirrors, to reduce the reflections from lights outside the car, but most importantly, don’t forget to turn your headlights on when it begins to get dark, some modern cars do this automatically.
Use your main beam on unlit roads but dip the lights if another car comes the other way or a driver behind begins an overtake.
It’s a good idea to be prepared for a breakdown at night. Carry a torch and high visibility tabards for yourself and any passengers, as well as warm clothes and a drink in case you are stranded.
If you feel tired while driving at night, stop in a well-lit area, ideally a service area, walk around for a while, have a short nap or drink some coffee.
One risk factor in night driving is glare from the headlights of oncoming vehicles, a car with badly adjusted lights will be particularly dazzling, but any vehicle lights on a previously dark road will limit your night vision.
Slow down and avoid looking directly at the lights. Remember that it will take some time for your eyes to adjust to the darkness after encountering another vehicle, the same if you leave a brightly lit motorway for country roads.
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Other road users, including cyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians are particularly vulnerable after dark. Slow down if you encounter pedestrians and watch out for cyclists, especially any riding without lights.
You should also watch out for wildlife, badgers and deer are active at night and are large and heavy enough to cause an accident if you hit one.
Night vision can deteriorate particularly as we get older, if you are concerned you should consult an optician.
You will need to notify the DVLA and your private or motor trade insurance company if you have been diagnosed with night blindness, and you may have to stop driving after dark or risk invalidating your insurance policy.