We recently added a blog about driving early in the day; therefore it seems sensible to look at another problematical time. Driving late into the night, particularly on long journeys, if you are not used to it, can create specific problems. Here are four that have often led to accidents…
Avoid staring at oncoming vehicles
It can be a natural reaction, when you see something coming in the opposite direction – especially on a road you are not used to – to focus on that vehicle. However, this can lead to being temporarily blinded should their headlights already be on, or suddenly change to, full beam. Experienced night drivers prefer to focus on the side of the road, keeping careful track of the position of their own vehicle.
Don’t be looking through an obscured windscreen
The gathering of dirt is more obvious during the day with constant light streaming in. At night, especially in poor weather conditions, this problem is increasingly troublesome, and often suddenly highlighted in lit areas or through the headlights of other vehicles. Do make sure your windscreen wash system is topped up before starting that night trip.
Watch out for pedestrians and animals
Another problem that is more easily spotted during the day. In darkness, some humans can still be wearing dark or non-reflective clothing; or cyclists not be using lights on their bikes. Animals can suddenly be disturbed from rest, especially on country roads, resulting in a panicked dash into the path of your vehicle.
Be aware of tiredness sneaking up on you
This can be a serious problem, notably if you are undertaking a long night-time drive and are not used to doing so. Aim to take regular breaks, use air-con or a source of fresh air to stop a musty atmosphere developing, and be sure to keep properly hydrated.
Accidents still happen
Even taking the best of care – such as paying attention to the four points we’ve covered – sadly doesn’t guarantee you won’t be an innocent victim of a not-your-fault accident at any time of the day or night.
If this happens to you, and your car is headed for a repair shop, Australian Law states that you are entitled to a replacement courtesy car. This is why you should keep our Not My Fault team’s number – 1800699034 – with you at all times. Then, if the worst happens, you can set us to work on your behalf…