Driving in the dark can be more stressful and dangerous than travelling in the daylight hours, but for anyone who commutes in the winter it will be unavoidable.
But there are ways you can make driving at night less of a chore, and safer too. Here’s the advice from Eden’s experts to make sure you don’t go bump in the night.
Your headlights are essential to make sure you can see and will be seen by others. Make sure the lenses are clean and that all of the bulbs are working.
Also check your lights are on the ‘automatic’ setting if your car has one. As many modern cars have daytime running lights and illuminated dashboards, it can seem as though your headlamps are on, but actually aren’t. This means you will be dazzling other road users at the front while you may not show any lights at all from behind.
Your car should automatically dim the lights on your dashboard and screens when it is dark or the headlamps are switched on, but they may still be too bright and cause a distraction and eye strain. Use the dimming switch on the dashboard or in the car’s infotainment menu to turn the brightness down.
We take the two thin strips of rubber which keep your windscreen clean and clear for granted and often don’t notice when they start to deteriorate. At night, the smears and dribbles caused by worn wipers will be magnified by the bright headlights of other vehicles.
If your wipers are more than a couple of years old or you do a lot of miles, then talk to the aftersales department at Eden about getting some replacements. You’ll clearly see the difference.
None of us like to think about dealing with an emergency, but a mishap can happen to any of us.
Our first piece of advice would be to ensure your car is well maintained. Regular servicing by the experts at Eden will help ensure that you spot potential issues before they turn into a breakdown. But even the most cared-for car can be involved in an accident or pick up a puncture, and it can be especially dangerous at night.
It’s worth investing a small amount in a few items which could make all the difference to your safety and comfort if you did have to stop at night, such as a high-vis vest, warning triangle and a torch. Also make sure your phone is charged, and you know how to use the functions to tell others of your location. The What3Words app is one of our favourites as it will help others find you accurately.
Many drivers find modern headlamps very bright. If you find yourself being dazzled by oncoming traffic, slow down gently and concentrate on staying in your lane and safe.
If you are finding the headlamps of a car which is following you distracting, then use the dipping function on your rear view mirror. Some models will have automatic dimming functions, while others will have a lever which tips the mirror and prevents dazzling.
Most modern cars will have electrically adjustable door mirrors too, so you can change these these until the lights are no longer visible.
If you are still bothered by them, simply pull over when it is safe to do so and let them past.
It may seem odd to suggest wearing ‘sunglasses’ at night, but many drivers swear by them. The (usually) yellow tinted lenses reduce glare from modern headlamps which have more daylight-like blue colour to the beams. The more expensive products will have anti-glare polarised filters too, and you can either buy them as separate glasses or a ‘clip-on’ addition for your prescription lenses.
They can reduce your general visibility though, so use them with caution. If possible, try them out or try a cheaper pair before spending substantial amounts on them.