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Driving after dark

Driver safety advice

Night driving is a lot more demanding on motorists than driving during the day because of the effect it has on sight. Essentially our depth perception, colour recognition, and peripheral vision are all compromised which makes night driving more challenging. Older drivers will also struggle that bit more than younger motorists.

In addition to impaired sight, motorists driving in the dark also contend with driver fatigue. Motorists suffering from driver fatigue will suffer reduced concentration levels and reduced driver reaction times. Taking these into consideration motorists should heed the following safe driving advice:

  • Inspect your vehicle’s headlights in advance. Your car’s headlights, tail and signal lights should be clean. Your car’s headlight alignment is also very important. If incorrectly aligned they can dazzle other motorists so if you suspect your car’s headlights are misaligned have them tested and reset by a reliable car mechanic.
  • Never drink and drive. Even one drink can induce driver fatigue. Alcohol also severely reduces driving ability.
  • Avoid smoking when you drive at night. Nicotine and carbon monoxide hamper night vision.
  • Reduce your driving speed and increase the gap between your car and the vehicle in front. You’ll find it more difficult to judge vehicle speeds and distances.
  • Be considerate of other drivers. Keep your car’s headlights on low beams so you don't blind the driver ahead of you.
  • If dazzled by the vehicle behind you, use the tab on your car’s rear view mirror to reduce eye level glare.
  • If an oncoming vehicle forgets to lower their beams, avoid glare by watching the left edge of the road and using it as a steering guide.
  • Don’t ignore driver fatigue. Get out of the vehicle to stretch your legs. Drink a caffeinated beverage, take a short nap and share the driving if you can.
  • If your car breaks down, pull off the road as far as possible. Warn approaching traffic by setting up warning triangles near your vehicle if safe to do so and turning on your vehicle’s hazard lights. Stay well back from the road. Call for breakdown assistance. AA roadside assistance is available to AA Members 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by calling 180066 7788.

AA Ireland Limited trading as AA Insurance is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.