Driving in the dark can throw up its own set of unusual circumstances and challenges. In towns and cities, there may be different light levels to cope with; away from populated areas, only moon or starlit darkness. Here are some tips to help you to drive safely in dark conditions.
A clear line of sight
A good starting point is to make sure windscreen and side windows are clean and clear of grease and muck, both inside and out, as this can cause vision problems when hit by lights from other vehicles. If you can, think about reducing in-car glare, for example from dashboard lights, although keeping the information quickly visible, as this allows more focus on events outside of your vehicle.
One problem many folk are concerned about is dealing with glare from the headlights of oncoming vehicles. One tip from experts is to learn to look towards the kerb on your vehicle’s side of the road while keeping at a steady speed. This helps you to focus on keeping your vehicle in the right place on the road.
Thinking ahead – in more ways than one
Depending on how quickly darkness falls and then rises, it’s a good idea to use dipped headlights for a period, maybe up to an hour, both before and after these events. This helps others see your vehicle in dim or changing light.
Focus on the road so that you can give warning as far ahead as possible, such as using a gradually increasing light source. Equally, it’s vital to be aware of close-by situations as cyclists and pedestrians may not have done all they should to make themselves visible. People often behave more erratically at night – especially if they are relaxing and enjoying themselves!
For longer night-time journeys, it makes sense to plan for extra journey times, allocating more time for breaks than you might feel you need during the day. It’s often more difficult to concentrate, as there is less happening to keep your alertness level as high as it should be.
If you are involved in a not at-fault accident
When you are involved in a not at-fault accident, even if you are free from any injuries, this sudden event can be very distressing. If it happens at night, darkness can add to the levels of anxiety. Many motorists, in such situations, can make a panicked decision to hire a car to get where they need to be and sort everything else out later. Don’t! This car may be unreliable, and you shouldn’t have to settle for anything less than what you are used to.
When you are not at fault, in such situations, then under Australian Law, you are entitled to a replacement courtesy car, with costs met by the insurance company of whoever was at fault. To start this process, you can apply online or call our experienced Not My Fault team on 1800699034.