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Tips for driving in the dark

Good Housekeeping UK logo Good Housekeeping UK 07/11/2018 Geraldine Herbert
a person driving a car © Image Source - Getty Images

Make sure you stay safe in the dark with these top tips...

1) Beware of night blindness

Driving in the dark can cause a period of blind driving, so stick to well-lit roads if you can. Use the 'night' setting on your interior rear-view mirror and dim your dashboard lights. Check that your side mirrors are also properly aligned as this will not only reduce blind spots but will also reduce glare from cars behind you.

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2) Check your lights

As winter takes hold temperatures drop and conditions on the road decline creating a number of visibility issues. Check the bulbs in your headlights and tail-lights and ensure all your lights are clean.

3) Keep windows and mirrors clean

It's important to keep your windows clear from streaks and dirt particularly at this time of the year as fog is a common feature during the morning and evening commutes. Use a good-quality windscreen washer fluid to keep windows clean and also check your mirrors.

4) Look out for pedestrians and cyclists

At night it is harder to see pedestrians, cyclists and animals on the side of the road so be extra vigilant in built up areas and unlit stretches of road.

traffic lights on a rainy night: Surface Level Of Road At Night © Vanchhit Verma / EyeEm - Getty Images Surface Level Of Road At Night

5) Beware of slippery roads

The onset of cold and damp conditions can change the road surface and make many manoeuvres more treacherous so ensure your speed matches the conditions.

6) Increase the distance between you and other cars

It is more difficult to judge distance at night-time so allow extra space between you and the car in front as this gives more time to react to situations ahead of you.

7) Take your time

Allow your eyes a chance to adjust to the darkness before you start driving. When on the road always drive carefully and at a speed at which you feel comfortable and in control of the car.

Pedestrians walk past cars with their headlights on in Stuttgat, Germany, 08 December 2016. Eye specialists regard the trend towards ever brighter car headlights critically. 'High performance headlights endanger road users because they cannot see anything', says Professor Bernhard Lachenmayr, spokesman for the Traffic Commission of the Federal Association of Eye Specialists and the German Society of Ophthalmologists. Photo: Lino Mirgeler/dpa | usage worldwide   (Photo by Lino Mirgeler/picture alliance via Getty Images) Pedestrians walk past cars with their headlights on in Stuttgat, Germany, 08 December 2016. Eye specialists regard the trend towards ever brighter car headlights critically. 'High performance headlights endanger road users because they cannot see anything', says Professor Bernhard Lachenmayr, spokesman for the Traffic Commission of the Federal Association of Eye Specialists and the German Society of Ophthalmologists. Photo: Lino Mirgeler/dpa | usage worldwide (Photo by Lino Mirgeler/picture alliance via Getty Images)

8) Don’t dazzle others

One of the biggest night-time hazards is the dazzle effect caused by the bright light from on-coming motors. Dip your headlights immediately when you meet other vehicles.

9) Stay awake

a close up of a street sign on a pole: Two signs to warn drivers to not drive while tired © benkrut - Getty Images Two signs to warn drivers to not drive while tired Make sure you are well rested as once darkness sets in your body and brain are accustomed to slowing down. It is estimated that about 20% of all serious road accidents in the UK are due to drivers falling asleep behind the wheel so take regular breaks. Every two hours get out of the car and take a 15 minute break for a stretch and some fresh air.

10) Breakdown

If your car breaks down in the dark, find a safe and well-lit place to stop and switch on your hazard lights and keep your sidelights on also. Move to a safe place away from the road & car to call and wait for the breakdown services.

Gallery: Snail pace: the UK's slowest-accelerating cars [Read Cars]

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