Driving safely when it is dark

Have you ever been blinded by the full headlights of an oncoming vehicle while driving at night or in the evening?

Have you been dazzled by the lights of the car behind you while driving at night or in the evening?

If you answer yes to either of the above questions, you will understand the need for this article.

One of the major menaces on the road is caused by motorists who engage their full headlights at night without recognising the serious effect on drivers of oncoming vehicles or those of vehicles ahead of them. Given that many drivers on our roads lack proper training, it appears that the vast majority of drivers are given to this very hazardous practice.

Some drivers may argue that the full beam helps them to see far ahead at night. The converse is that your full headlights can blind drivers of oncoming vehicle and those of vehicles in front of you. It is not inconceivable that many of the accidents on our roads at night may be a direct result of drivers who engage their full lights.
A standard set of headlights provide about 30 metres of visibility when dipped and about 100 metres when on full beam. In other words, 30 metres is enough visibility especially when driving around town.

Perhaps a driver may use his full headlights if there is no oncoming vehicle or if there are no cars ahead of him in a non-urban setting. This however should be confined to unlit, non-urban travel at night. In any event, the lights should be changed to dip as soon as a vehicle approaches.

The following are useful tips for driving at night:

1. When driving in the evening or at night in an urban setting, use your dipped light at all times.

2. Do NOT use full headlights when driving at night as this will dazzle oncoming motorists and those driving in front of you.

3. Driving is more treacherous when the full headlights are used as it may blind other motorists. The fact that many drivers use the full light does not make it right.

4. Driving is not just about the driver’s skill with the steering; it is also about being careful. More importantly, it is about giving due consideration to other motorists and road users.

We all benefit when we do things right!