Whether it’s your first time, or you’ve mastered the roads, driving at night can often be a little confronting for any driver. From blinding headlights and dark roads, to impaired vision and hard-to-spot animals or pedestrians, no matter the streets you occupy, it’s important to maintain safe driving culture.
When you get behind the wheel of a vehicle you take on the responsibility of ensuring not only your own safety, but also the safety of others on the road. To help you navigate through WA roads at night, we’ve compiled a list of safe driving tips to help boost your confidence and awareness for your next night cruise.
Safety check before the drive
Driving safe at night all starts before you hit the road. This can include making sure your vehicle’s lights and indicators are all working. Check and adjust the position of your rear and side-view mirrors to avoid the headlights of other vehicles.
If you plan to have a few alcoholic beverages that night, plan ahead and organise a ride home. It is illegal throughout Australia to drive with an alcohol blood limit that is over 0.05%, with the limit being zero for provisional and learner drivers.
Be aware of your distances
⅓ of collisions occur at night, this comes as no surprise considering the distance you can see ahead and to the side of you is greatly reduced after dark, taking longer to respond to hazards. For this reason, it would be a good idea to follow the two second rule, which is allowing a minimum of two seconds between you and the driver in front.
Depending on your vehicle make and size, as well as weather conditions, you will need to adjust this distance as needed. For example, heavier vehicles on a rainy night will require a longer stopping distance.
How to use high beams
High beams are excellent for illuminating dark roads and spotting hazards from a distance but they can also pose as a potential blinding risk against oncoming drivers.
Dip your lights if you notice an approaching vehicle’s lights within 200m and less than 200m behind another vehicle.
If a vehicle is coming towards you with their high beams on, slow down and keep your eyes and your vehicle to the left of the road. If you’re blinded and cannot see, indicate and pullover.
As you already know, your vision is impaired at night, making it harder to spot hazards, pedestrians, cyclists, and animals. Keep your eyes trained to what is happening around you and try not to focus your vision on a single point for too long. Make sure you are constantly assessing your surrounds without getting distracted.
Alternative drivers, stretch and rest stops
If you’re about to embark on a long drive, make sure to plan out your route, including marking rest stops to get out and stretch, go to the toilet, and have some refreshments.
If you’re feeling tired, pull over somewhere safe and have a quick 20minute power nap, or alternate driver.
Ideally, you want to avoid driving at night if possible, especially in remote areas where there are no street lights, and where wildlife have a tendency to be drawn towards speeding headlights.
Don’t drive with a broken windscreen
Windscreens have been designed to keep out the elements and to keep the driver safe from random projectiles. Driving with a broken or cracked windscreen weakens its integrity and its ability to protect you in the event of a crisis. To ensure your safety, keep your windscreen clean at all times and repair or replace a damage, or broken windscreen.
Can red P platers drive at night?
Red P plate drivers are subjected to night-time restrictions and are unable to drive between 12am and 5am for the first six months.
Can L platers drive at night?
Learners must complete a minimum of 50 supervised driving hours, five of which must be completed at night between sunset and sunrise. Learner drivers are not subjected to night-time restrictions, meaning they can drive between 12am and 5am.