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Driving in the Dark

Driving in the Dark


With the clocks going back and the nights drawing in, Swansway Group have written a piece about top tips for driving in the dark.

Top tips for Driving Safely in the Dark:

  • Keep your lights dipped on low lit roads to avoid distracting other drivers
  • Take extra time to assess potential driving hazards
  • Take extra care while passing cyclists, they may not be as visible
  • Make sure to test your car lights, replace bulbs if necessary and make sure you clean your headlamps
  • Keep your eyes healthy with checks at the opticians

With the de-icer permanently on standby and your 'big coat' making a reappearance – Winter is well and truly approaching us, bringing with it dark commutes at both ends of the day.

With as little as 8 hours of daylight in the Winter months, most of us travel to and from work or school in the dark, so it’s important that you can see and be seen.

Lower the razzle dazzle of your car lights

Keep your lights dipped on low lit roads to avoid distracting other drivers. Whilst full beam lights are advised where safe on country roads or narrow lanes, it’s also very important to always dip your lights for any oncoming traffic. In the dark, dazzling lights can seriously affect your vision even after the car has passed and when you’re in control of a high speed car, those few seconds of bad vision could mean all the difference.

The rev counter, drivers display and speedometer lit up in a car whilst driving on the road at night

Read more:  10 Most Common Car Warning Lights and What They Mean

Take your time

The basics of safe driving, including carefully observing potential hazards and fast reaction times, become even more crucial as the nights draw in. With less daylight hours as we approach the depths of winter, there is the potential for increased melatonin and fatigue – so if you start to feel drowsy behind the wheel, ensure you stop and take a break. Give yourself enough time at junctions to assess the presence of cyclists and pedestrians, to ensure in the low light conditions, you aren’t putting anyone at risk.

Read more: Staying Safe on the Road

On their bikes

Cyclists and pedestrians should be equally as visible, kitted out with reflective clothing as well as bike lights and reflectors. If you can, sneak reflective material onto the cuffs, collars and the edges of coats for you or your little ones for extra visibility during the dark mornings and nights. Schoolbags and neon reflective wristbands are excellent at adding that extra bit of safety to your journey and could be a big help at keeping your children safe on their way to school.

Take extra care while passing cyclists on the roads during the dark too, as you may not always see how much room there is to pass until you are close by. 

Cyclist on a mountain in the dark with helmet torches on stopped

Read more: Think Bike, Keep Cyclists Safe

Eye spy

It's important to never wear dark or tinted lenses for night driving, and equally important to ensure you keep your eyes healthy and performing at their best. The bright beams from other road users could end up damaging your eyes and potentially worsen your night vision, so with regular checks at your opticians, this helps to identify any underlying problems that may affect your vision when driving in the dark.

All in working order

Test your car lights, replace bulbs if necessary and make sure you clean your headlamps regularly as salt and grit can make them dirtier quicker than any other time of year. You don’t need to fork out for a 5 star-valet when a quick wipe with a piece of kitchen towel will do the job.

Brake lights on cars in traffic on a road with a biker up ahead too

Read more: 10 Most Common Car Warning Lights and What They Mean

So whether it’s your home-time commute or a quick 15 minutes to the supermarket, be sure to take extra care when driving in the dark. It’s the little things that really can make a difference in the darker months and everything we can do to make our roads safer, not only for us but for other road users too, are so important.

If you have any questions about our top tips or would like some further advice on driving in the dark, contact your local Swansway dealership.

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