How to stay safe behind the wheel in the dead of night

Driving at night is hell.

It’s dark, we’re tired, high beams are glaring in our eyes. Why would anyone want to hit the road late at night?

Well sometimes it’s just unavoidable.

But night time driving is more than a simple annoyance. It’s dangerous too.

Fatalities occur at a rate three times greater on the road at night, than in the day

Depth perception, peripheral vision and your ability to distinguish colour are all diminished.

So what can you do to make sure you’re safe?

Let’s find out…

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Don’t look at the lights! – Inside the car, dark at night, your eyes are used to the dim glow of your dashboard and the road in front of you. And when a car comes towards you it’s easy to become distracted by their headlights.

When you’re driving, try to avoid directly looking into oncoming lights by slightly turning your head away until they’ve passed.

Get plenty of sleep – Driving tired is dangerous in the day, so at night, that danger doubles. If you’re planning on taking a long journey get plenty of sleep prior to it. Drink lots of coffee too.

It’s the time of day your body is preparing to shut down and sleep. That’s why making sure you’re alert is vitally important.

Plan your route – Getting lost in the dead of night is never good. Make sure you know exactly which route to take.

Research where you’re going before you set out and plan a backup route in case there’s traffic.

Let family and friends know where you’re going and which route you’re taking too. That way if there’s an accident and you don’t arrive at the destination within the designated time they can locate you quickly.

Create a roadside emergency kit – Any number of things can happen on the road. You could breakdown with no form of communication, get jammed in a traffic jam, slide out on a frozen street.

Preparation is always a good idea.

The emergency kit will provide the tools you need to remain safe.

In your emergency kit keep:

  • A torch
  • A blanket
  • Plasters
  • Tweezers
  • Tools
  • Gloves
  • Food

Dim your dash lights – Your dashboard is an important part of your car. It tells you how much gas you have, how fast you’re going and if there are any issues in the vehicle. But at night it can be more of a hindrance than a help if not set up correctly.

Dim the dash so it doesn’t glare into your eyes. The brighter it is the more it’ll compromise your forward vision. And if you’re struggling to figure out how to dim the dash, take it into your local garage.

 weather-forecast-146472_640Check the weather – Before you embark on your night time trip check the weather. Driving at night is difficult at the best of times and snow, sleet and heavy rain will make it a whole lot harder.

If there’s a severe weather warning we suggest you re-organise. The risk isn’t worth it.

Light up – Light can be both a danger to you and a saviour. As we’ve already mentioned high beams, headlights and the dash board lights can all make night time driving dangerous. Your headlights however, can save you.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure they’re in working order. If one is weaker than the other, replace it. It’ll become a distraction to others on the road. Oh, and don’t forget your brake lights. They’re just as important.

Make sure your lights aren’t covered with dirt and debris too. They need to be in tip top shape if they’re going to be beneficial.

Only hit the road at night if you’re well prepared. It might seem a little over the top now, but taking an emergency kit, cleaning your headlights and dipping your dash lights could save your life.