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Although street lights, cats eyes and illuminated signs are put in place mainly to keep us safe at night, the human eye undoubtedly perform better in daylight and despite what we do to improve this fact, it is one we should constantly be aware of when driving after dark. To help keep the roads safe you must be knowledgeable of the potential dangers and what you can do to make night time driving safer.
Luckily, as humans our eyesight is pretty good at coping with a wide range of light, from complete darkness to strong daylight. However, adjusting from one to another is something that takes time, and when driving this isn’t something you have enough time for. Driving is all about making quick, responsible decisions and without the ability to see properly, the dangers of the roads become enhanced.
It is for this very reason that driving in the dark requires much more concentration as our eyes are playing catch-up with the information we are observing. Real time observations may not be accurate, meaning that at night we simply can’t trust our eyesight like we do during brighter hours.
Being dependant on artificial sources of light makes it harder to concentrate on anything else other than the road ahead. We become much more sensitive to strong lights, therefore losing gaze is much more common. We can’t read a map successfully, we can’t see as far in front and our reaction times are usually much slower.
So what can you do to make the experience a much safer one? Below we’ve put together a checklist of things to consider before you set off into the darkness….
Plan your journey
If you have a good idea of where you are going, you’re more likely to concentrate on the safety of your driving and less on reading maps, sign posts and SAT NAVs. If you’re heading on a long late-night journey consider your own health and be sure to add in time for extra breaks.
Give your vehicle a once-over
Breaking down in the dark is unpleasant and extremely dangerous, especially if you’re on the motorway. To save this from happening to you, be sure to check things as such the indicators, rear lights, brake lights, sidelights and headlights before you set off.
Increase the braking distance gap
Night time driving means that hazards are sometimes less obvious, which means that leaving a larger gap between yourself and the vehicle in front is a good idea. Not only will this allow you more space to stop safely if you need to, it also encourages a slower, safer speed.
Adopt good habits
As a driver, adopting the habit of regularly cleaning both your lights and windows is hugely helpful. It will ensure that you can see properly and it will help towards the overall maintenance of your car.
Whether you’re driving during the day or at night, the road is parent to many hazards and by following these steps, you may just avoid them.