10 November 2017
Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and long time road safety campaigner, David Stewart issues a warning about driving at night to motorists.
“ Obviously the distance you can see ahead in terms of the far, middle and near distance utilised in daytime driving, is restricted to an area ahead of the driver in the near distance only at night time.”
“Because you can only see in the near distance, you therefore have to be aware that hazards can often seem to appear out of nowhere.”
“All road users have to be alert to the issue of visibility. Pedestrians should wear bright or reflective clothes, cyclists should do likewise and make sure they have front and rear lights displayed and drivers should be alert to the possibility of other road users just appearing into their line of vision and sight.”
David continued “In darkness it is harder to judge speed and distance and objects can be closer than they appear, or travelling faster than first expected, even in a different direction.”
“Young drivers who have not built up experience of night time driving are especially more susceptible to collisions at night so extra care should be taken. Even many experienced drivers do not feel comfortable driving at night.”
“The hours of darkness are when your body is preparing to sleep, especially after a hard day at work and tiredness can set in quickly, although usually with warning signs. Driver fatigue and tiredness remains a large cause of fatalities on the night time roads.”
David went on “40% of collision occur at night across the UK and 20% occur as a result of the driver falling asleep.”
Drivers should remember that you are required to dip your headlights within 500 metres of an oncoming car and as we are now very much in the dark winter months, all motorists should make sure that there headlights are set at the correct height. Too many vehicles have headlights which are off set and shining too high, blinding other motorists. ‘If in doubt get your lights check out’
In conclusion, David Stewart said “ Dipped headlights are not only required to be displayed at night, they are also required when visibility is poor during the day. It is vital that motorists with vehicles fitted with day time running lights (DRL) are aware that their purpose is to allow your vehicle to be seen during daytime and good visibility by all other road users and they are not a substitute for dipped headlights and rear lights. This is why during periods of darkness or poor visibility you need to display your dipped headlights as DRL’s do not illuminate rear lights which are essential in poor visibility.
Night time is defined as half an hour after sunset and half an hour before sunrise.