Today we discover all the secrets on how to drive at night . The right perception of distances, the even more difficult prediction of unexpected events, the narrowing field of vision, inefficient lighting: the answer to how to drive at night inevitably involves overcoming these difficulties. But how to do it? Here are our tips and tricks.
Let’s look at it on a case-by-case basis and give some important tips that are intended to help you acquire greater mastery in certain situations. After reading, you just have to try to put into practice when indicated.
Driving in the dark can be very difficult for some motorists. At night, in conditions of poor visibility, on poorly or not illuminated roads, driving can become a real problem, especially if the dipped headlights are not perfectly efficient due to poor maintenance, if you travel too fast and even if the interior lighting is excessive and can be disturbing.
Unfortunately, 60% of road accidents are caused not only by a state of intoxication and a lack of driving skills and distractions, but also by a poor visual efficiency of the driver, who can present problems of myopia, presbyopia and astigmatism, which in turn involve some deficiencies in sight and therefore a decrease in the safety conditions necessary for driving, especially at night.
Driving at night: tips before getting behind the wheel
For effective, efficient and safe night driving, it is first of all essential that the car is always up to date with routine maintenance . In fact, all its devices must be in good health, for the vehicle to function properly and for excellent visibility even at night, therefore:
- keep the car windows clean at all times;traveling at night with dirty windows can cause annoying reflections and distort the perception of distances and unexpected events, thus reducing the reaction time. The cleaning of the windscreen must take place above all inside the passenger compartment, where a light layer of dust usually deposits which obscures the view. Using the right products means putting yourself in a position to drive at night with a clearer and sharper vision, without the presence of reflections due to halos.
- make sure that the wipers always work perfectly;the efficiency of the brushes must be tested and total. There is nothing worse than traveling at night in the rain and with windshield wipers that do not completely remove the veil of water. Any streak left on the glass is a point of failure to see what is happening in front of you.
- check that the lights are perfectly adjusted, not only the low beams, but also the fog lights and high beams.the dipped beams and possibly the fog lights must be functioning and adjusted correctly. Avoid doing it yourself in the adjustments, especially if you have xenon headlights.
Traveling at night with dirty windows can cause very annoying reflections and halos and compromise the driving skills of the driver of the vehicle. In fact, you should always have a clear vision, to be able to have the situation under control and see everything that happens around you, when you are behind the wheel.
As for the lights, on the other hand, always adjust the light beam , so as not to dazzle or otherwise annoy other road users; do not forget to check that the lights always work perfectly, it is essential.
Travel speed and references during the night
Another fundamental argument for safety on the road during the night is that linked to the speed of travel . If the road is dark, the visibility is poor, it is always good to moderate the driving speed to avoid dangers. Always respect the Highway Code and try not to overdo it, to always have the time and space to stop the vehicle in case of need. Also be careful to always keep the right safety distance from the vehicle in front of you.
It is also important to be able to keep external visual references , to be sure to always remain in the center of the lane, without invading the others. Unfortunately, in fact, in the dark and in poor visibility conditions or on poorly lit roads, there is this risk and our advice is to always keep an eye on the right line that delimits the carriageway from the quay.
If, on the other hand, you find yourself near curves or intersections, warn other users using the high beams, but only for intermittent and short periods. A note also on the lighting to be kept inside the passenger compartment of the car. It would be good to keep a soft light inside , to be able to better see what happens outside, in the dark of the night. On modern cars there is the automatic brightness reduction command of the dashboard, dashboard and infotainment system, which adjusts the intensity of the light also based on the external brightness, especially in the dark at night.
To improve your night driving it is enough to put into practice some small tricks that are able to make the task easier.
it is essential to keep a lateral reference, especially in poor visibility conditions, on poorly lit roads or when you have the headlights of other cars pointed towards you. It is important to shift attention to the sideline that divides the rolling lane from the emergency lane. In this sense, your eye must tend to look sideways to the right, towards the white line, so that you can maintain a reference. By doing so, you will also avoid subjecting the eye to the glare of vehicles coming towards you in the opposite lane.
Reduce your speed
it is always a good general advice, even if it does not mean that you have to drive at 30 Km / h everywhere. Simply, if you do not know the road you are taking, it is useless to be bold and therefore stick to common sense and prudence, even more so if the environmental conditions are difficult. This is especially true on mountain roads, which are very dark and never illuminated, as well as on country roads. By sticking to the limits or slightly below, you will reserve the opportunity to have a little more time to react to any unexpected events.
Take a break
at night you are generally more tired, both because you have returned from a whole day of work (or even for leisure), and because the biology of the human body interprets the night as the right time to rest. This involves the possibility of falling asleep. This is why it is advisable to take breaks and if you are about to face a long journey it is advisable to make stops every 90 minutes or so. Resting even just 10 minutes can be a system that can regenerate you and make you recover the necessary attention.
Food and drink
if you know you drive at night, avoid doing it right after eating. If so, try to stay light. A long and complicated digestion raises the perception of tiredness and can cause you to drop your concentration. Avoid consuming alcohol and sophisticated foods while traveling. Drinks containing caffeine or tea are allowed.
some of the most modern cars have automatic reduction of the interior brightness of lights, dashboard and radio panel. This is done to avoid straining the human eye with excessive light that would create an accentuated contrast with the external darkness. If this automatic function is not available on your car, manually adjust the intensity of the interior light sources.
Even those with hawkish eyesight can suffer from reflections at night. Don’t panic. In optical shops there are special anti-reflective goggles to be used during night driving.
HOW TO DRIVE AT NIGHT IN DIFFICULT CONDITIONS
When it rains it is much more difficult to drive at night due to the reflections generated on the glass and on the wet asphalt, which often mirrors the lights of other cars. The considerations made previously acquire even more significance, but it is important to double the level of attention, as well as when there are conditions of poor visibility due to fog. In these cases it is necessary to foresee what could happen: looking beyond the car in front of you is a good way to anticipate a braking, a slowdown, a situation of potential danger.
When the environmental conditions get complicated, using the satellite navigator can be very useful even if you know the route, since the road is visible on the screen and you are therefore easier to set up a bend, a hairpin bend or a mixed section.
A complicated situation to deal with is night driving on icy or slippery roads: speed reduction and an attentive eye with a forward gaze are certainly the two main tips for traveling safely.