Driving in The Night

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Driving in the night

When driving, generally one of the main rules to staying safe is being able to stop within the distance that you can see. At night this is particularly true, therefore if there are no streetlights you ahould be travelling slow enough so that you can stop within the distance illuminated by your headlights. You can see further when on main beam so if for any reason you need to dip your headlights you should alter your speed accordingly.

Regular checks of your lights should be done to ensure that they are in working order. The easiest way to do this is to get someone to watch while you run through the switches. If no one is available you can check lights, such as break lights, by parking close to a wall and looking for the reflections.

To avoid dazzle, make a conscious effort to look at your side of the road and not at the lights coming towards you. If you are unlucky enough to be driving towards a driver who has not dipped their headlights, a quick flash of your lights may remind them to do so. Do not however, leave your lights on main to retaliate, this only makes the situation twice as dangerous.

A driver behind who is on full beam can be just as off putting, bear this in mind if you are driving behind another vehicle at night. In this instance, most cars have a tilting mirror so that you direct the glare away from you. This makes vehicles behind appear to be a lot further away than they actually are, so remember to change it back once you are no longer being dazzled.

Any eyesight problems that you may have can become worse when drivig in the dark. Whether you have perfect eyesight or not, travelling at night puts more strain on your eyes and is therefore more tiring. For this reason, long journeys in the dark are best avoided but if this is not possible regular breaks are of the upmost importance.

If you are a woman travelling alone at night ensure that all doors and windows are locked and let someone know your route and estimated time of arrival. If you do break down, summon help and stay in the car, keep all doors locked. Tell the emergency services that you are a woman alone so that they can make you a priority. It is worthwhile considering the possibilty of investing in a mobile phone so that if you so break down help can be summoned from the safety of the car.

Driving at night is not all bad! If you are driving along country lanes the lights from oncoming vehicles will be clear to see through several bends. This gives you advanced warning that you would not get in the day. As you can see lights from a great distance, overtaking opportunities may also become clearer.

Following these basic hints and suggestions should make night time driving safer for you and all around you.

Night driving is difficult for many people. Driving in the dark is much different from driving during the daylight hours. The human eye‘s field of vision is much smaller without the help of natural light. If you must drive at night and feel less than confident, the following tips will help you improve your night vision and reach your destination safely.

  • Take your time.

Allow your eyes a chance to adjust to the darkness before you start driving. It takes a few minutes for the pupils to fully dilate, allowing for maximum light to enter the eye. The more light your pupils let enter the eye, the better your vision will be.

  • Minimize glare.

Look to the bottom right of the road to avoid approaching headlights. (Some headlights are blindingly bright.) Also use the night setting on your rearview mirror to deflect the glare from vehicles behind you. Older drivers find it more difficult to see at night because it takes longer for them to recover from glare.

  • Keep it dark.

Turn off all interior lights. Any source of light inside the car will seem extremely bright and will make it more difficult to see.

  • Slow down.

Reduce your driving speed to give yourself longer to react if something happens on the road in front of you. Driving at a slower speed will also give you more confidence.

  • Tune it up.

Keep your car in tip-top shape for maximum safety. Regularly check fluid levels, tire pressure and brake pads. Thoroughly clean headlights, taillights and signal lights. Make sure all windows are clean on both the inside and outside.

Your ability to see in the dark depends on several factors, including the health and visual acuity of your eyes. Certain conditions, such as dry eye syndrome, can make night driving more difficult. Artificial tears are sometimes helpful. Remember that depth perception, visual acuity, color recognition and peripheral vision are all compromised in the dark. Older drivers have even greater difficulty seeing at night.

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