It is important that drivers better understand how to travel safe in dark conditions, the AA South Africa recently announced.

The advice follows publication of statistics by the Road Transport Management Corporation, showing that about 56% of crashes generally occur between 6pm and 6am.

“Firstly, and most importantly, anyone who suspects they have problems seeing at night should consult a doctor or optometrist to get their eyesight checked,” urged the AA. “Be honest with yourself about this as it is a safety aspect that needs checking. Equally important, anyone who needs prescription spectacles to drive must ensure they wear them, especially in low light conditions. Don’t let vanity outweigh safety it’s not worth it.”

The AA’s tips:

  • Plan a clear route with good road lighting
  • Make sure your headlights and brake lights are in proper working order. If you are towing, make sure your brake lights and indicators are connected and properly working
  • Keep front and rear windscreens clean. Make sure your defogger is working properly
  • Avoid keeping your gaze focused at a single distance, as this can cause eye fatigue
  • Do not drive faster than the range of your vision – you must be able to stop at all times, within the length of the road illuminated by your headlights
  • Turn headlights on before sunset, and keep them on after sunrise. This will make you more visible to other motorists
  • Don’t blind other motorists. Dip your headlights well before an approaching vehicle is within range. Also dip your headlights when driving behind another vehicle. If the other driver doesn’t respond, flash the beam back to high for a second, and then dip again. Don’t retaliate by keeping your high beam on; two blinded drivers instead of one is merely doubling the danger
  • Maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle ahead. Remember, your reaction time may be slower at night because you are seeing less, but you still have the same amount of time to respond as you would in the daytime