How To Drive Safe In The Dark
The nights are getting darker and the weather more unpredictable. That’s right - winter is well and truly here. The colder weather can make using the roads more hazardous. To avoid accidents, it is important to be more aware than ever when getting behind the wheel.
Here are our personal injury department’s top tips for driving safe this season.
- Keep your windows clean
This will avoid increased glare and condensation when the lighting is darker.
- Avoid using high beams
Dim your lighting when faced with another road user, as bright lights in dark conditions can dazzle them and cause accidents.
Turn your headlights on before sunset and keep them on for an hour after sunrise, so drivers can more easily see you in twilight hours.
- Give other road users more space
Darker, stormier conditions can result in erratic behaviour from other road users. While this isn’t your fault, it is better to be safe than sorry, so keep extra safe distances between you and other drivers when it is dark or the weather is bad.
- Have your eyes checked regularly
There are a range of problems that can affect your night vision, especially as you get older. Also be sure never to use dark or tinted glasses when driving at darker times.
- Dim your dashboard lights
Reduce reflections and avoid reducing your night vision.
- Always be on the lookout
For pedestrians, cyclists and animals, especially near pubs and clubs around closing time, or in suburban areas.
Allow more time for your own journey, so you're not driving under pressure.
- Study the road ahead of you
Look out for signs of oncoming drivers (glimmers of light at the top of hills and bends, etc.) so you know what to expect and aren’t caught out by the sudden appearance of other cars, motorcycles, bikes or pedestrians.
- Take regular breaks
At least every two hours, and consider sipping coffee to keep you more alert. Never drive if you simply feel too tired. Swap with your partner, take a nap in the backseat (only when stopped somewhere safe) or check into a hotel.
- Darker, winter months can also coincide with bad weather
Ensure your car is safe for all driving conditions - have your tired checked and maybe even have a mechanic check your vehicle’s general health.
- Watch your speed
Driving fast affects your ability to drive safely, as you have less time to react to hazards. It’s particularly dangerous in conditions where it’s difficult to see and judge distances, as hazards can appear to be further away than they actually are. Never drive so fast that you can’t stop within the distance you can see to be clear.
- Take care overtaking
Only overtake at night if you can see that the road will remain clear until after you’ve finished overtaking. Never overtake if you are approaching a bend, road junction, dip in the road, the brow of a bridge or a hill, a pedestrian crossing or solid double white lines along the centre of the road.
What to do if you’re involved in a road traffic accident (RTA)
Even if you follow all the tips above, accidents can still sometimes happen.
If you are involved in a road traffic accident that isn’t your fault, you could be entitled to claim some compensation. Compensation aims to cover any costs associated with an incident (from medical to the costs of hiring a babysitter if you are unable to care for loved ones) and help you get back on the track to wellness. This is your entitlement, under the law, and a protection of your fundamental human rights (e.g. your right to access justice).
For more information on how to make your RTA claim, read our article: How Can I Claim After A Road Traffic Accident
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