Tuesday, 05 April 2016 11:06

Driving at night for the first time, or under any different conditions for that matter, can be a little confronting.

Night driving requires more concentration. Changing light conditions can cause impairment of vision and depth perception.

Common sense says follow the same road rules as during the day. But there are some extra things you can do to prepare yourself for your first night drive.

Before you hit the road

  • Check all your lights are working and clean.
  • Clean your windows.
  • Check for any unknowns such as steep hills or sharp corners (esp. if you are driving somewhere new).
  • Reconsider your need to drive. If you’ll be out late or there’s a chance you might drink – catch a taxi or public transport instead.
  • Check the position of your rear vision mirror. Adjust to avoid the headlights of other cars if possible.

On the road

  • Always keep to the left.
  • Always drive with your headlights on.
  • Make use of your high-beams. Take the time to understand how to use them correctly. For starters, don’t high-beam oncoming drivers.
  • Dip your lights for oncoming cars or when following other cars.
  • Keep your eyes moving and alert to what is happening around you. Try not to focus your vision on one point for too long.
  • Keep an eye out for pedestrians, cyclists and animals – they can be hard to see at night.
  • Avoid looking directly into oncoming headlights; they can blind your vision. If you can’t see properly, slow down or stop.
  • Limit distractions. Phones are obviously a no go, loud music or friends can also be a distraction.
  • Increase the distance between you and the car in front. This will give you more time to spot any hazards and react.
  • If you have a long night drive ahead, plan stops along the way.
  • If you feel tired at all, pull over and stop the car. Consider sleeping somewhere for the night, there are lots of great campgrounds around WA.

Driving at night does take more skill than during the day. There is no shame in choosing not to drive in conditions that make you uncomfortable, or nervous.

Alas, not all of us are cut out for that long haul night train (or parallel parking!)

Source: RAC | Luke Brown - March 29, 2016

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