Here are our top tips for driving after dark.
1.Get a Pass Plus certificate
This includes night-time driving and you’ll have a trained instructor with you the first time you drive at night.
2.Don’t drive tired
You concentrate less when you’re sleepy, so avoid heavy meals and carbs, and have a coffee or two to stay alert. If you do feel tired, pull over at a safe place, have a coffee and try a 15-minute nap.
3.Take some company
Chatting with a mate or family member can help you stay awake. Just make sure they’re sober and not a distraction.
4.Take a break
This goes without saying. It’ll keep you refreshed and awake, and will help stop your attention from lapsing.
5.Don’t drink and drive
This one’s essential. Making you sleepy is one of the many, many problems that driving after a drink can cause. And obviously it’s illegal to drive over the limit.
6.Keep your mirrors and windscreen clean
Smudged or grubby glass can create a glare at night. Use a microfibre cloth to wipe your windscreen and mirrors before driving. And make sure your windscreen wipers are in good condition too.
7.Use your lights
It’s obvious, but easy to forget sometimes. If you’re in a new car, make sure you know the controls before you set out and, in areas with no street lighting, switch to full beam – remembering to turn it off when another car approaches.
8.Check your lights
Always make sure your headlights and brake lights are working and clear of dirt. Bulbs aren’t expensive, but always change them in pairs, so they’re the same level of brightness. Here’s our quick checklist.
Switch them on and see if they light up.
Push the brake down and ask a friend or family member to check your lights. If no-one’s around, park near a reflection on glass, other cars or garage doors.
Hazard lights and indicators
Switch them on, then walk around your car to check.
9.Don’t get dazzled
Try and look at road markings rather than the lights of other cars. If someone behind has their lights on too brightly, move your mirror slightly so you see more of the road.
10.Know your road markings
Green motorway studs: Entry slip and exit roads
Amber studs: Central reservation.
Red studs: Hard shoulder
11.Know your route
Roads look different at night, so plan your route or use a satnav to be sure.
12.Be ready for an emergency
Just in case, it’s a good idea to be equipped with:
- A charged mobile
- A torch and batteries
- A hi-viz jacket
- A hazard warning triangle
- A bottle of water
- A reflective triangle