Clocks go back tonight – road safety advice for driving in the dark

Road at night

Road at night - Credit: Archant

The clocks go back an hour tonight when British Summer Time 2016 officially ends. With nights getting darker earlier, a Welwyn Garden City-based road safety charity has warned about the potential dangers of driving at this time of the year.

Archant Herts Be Road Safe Campaign

Archant Herts Be Road Safe Campaign - Credit: Archant

As we prepare to gain an extra hour’s sleep this weekend, with the clocks going back at 2am on Sunday, October 30, the days are getting shorter as darkness falls earlier.

It can be daunting driving in the dark for the first time in months.

Richard Gladman, IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, said: “Per mile driven, the risk of a crash is actually higher at night despite the quieter roads.

“Getting used to night-time driving can take time, so take it easy until the old skills come back and you can start to enjoy the new challenges.”

Here are some tips to prepare drivers and riders for driving in the twilight zone from IAM RoadSmart, which is moving its head offices to Welwyn Garden City.

• Familiar routes can pose totally different challenges in the dark, so make sure you are wide awake and looking out for pedestrians and cyclists in the gloom.

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• Check your car lights. They are there for your safety and those around you.

Do a daily walk around to check all lights are working and use a wall or garage door to check the rear lights if you are on your own.

Changing a bulb on a modern car is often a garage-only job, so get it done before the police stop you and issue a ticket or repair notice.

• As well as being seen, you need to see so get an eyesight check-up.

It is vital to have your sight checked regularly as this may heavily affect your night vision.

With age your eyes take in less light, no matter how fit you may feel, so be aware of your limitations.

• Don’t blind me! One of the biggest night-time hazards is the dazzle affect caused by the bright light from oncoming motors.

Dip your headlights when you meet other vehicles.

• Carry a basic emergency kit.

Anything can happen at night and it is important to be prepared.

Having a tool kit, torch, map and a first aid kit – if you don’t have one already – can make a real difference.

• A fully charged mobile with the details of your breakdown cover is another must.

To find out more about IAM RoadSmart, visit the charity’s new website