One should never take for granted the need to be extra cautious when driving at night. With the high level of traffic congestion and bad roads in Nigeria, all night driving practices have to be put into deliberate use to ensure you have a safe and smooth trip. However, whether you are driving through bad roads or heavy traffic, Naijauto.com brings you best night driving practices to have a safe experience.
1. Use your lights
A major night driving practice is the proper use of your lights. Unfortunately, a lot of road users don’t know when and how to use their lights. Because of how important this is as a night driving practice we will list a few tips below.
The first thing you need to do is check to see all lights are working. Check for your beam lights (head lamps), tail lights, interior lights and dashboard lights.
Some motor vehicles have what is known as the day time light which is most often confused as the beam light. If your motor vehicle has this light, it is still important for you to turn on your beam lights manually, this is because the daytime lights are not bright enough to give you a clear vision of the road.
Drive with your lights on - that's the most basic thing for night driving
How to use your lights properly
Know that with the low beam, the lights are pointing down on the road before you and with the high beam, the lights are pointed straight to see further ahead. Here are some rules in using low beam and high beam lights when driving at night in Nigeria:
- Use your high beams when you are on very dark road with no ambient light and no vehicles in front of you. It will help you see the road better.
- Use your low beam when there is ambient light and when there are plenty vehicles on the road
- If a car driving in your opposite direction has the high beam light on and it is blinding you, look away to the other side of the light and if look into any low white light if there is any around.
- If you have your high beam lights on and there is a vehicle coming before you in the opposite direction you should switch to the lower beam light
- If a vehicle overtakes you and you have your high beam lights on, switch to low beam lights so you don’t blind the driver with reflection from the side mirror.
- If you are approaching a curve, switch to low beam lights as soon as you see the glow of the other vehicle’s light.
- If you want to overtake, flash your light ones or twice so the vehicle in front of you takes notice of you.
- It is important you put on your tail light so motor vehicles coming from behind you will take note of you in front of them
>>> Check here for recommended article on Correct driving posture to prevent long term injury when drivin
Use high beam when on dark roads with no oncoming vehicle
Do not leave your inner light on except you are approaching a police operation and there is need for your face to be seen. You should also dim your dashboard light. You do not need much light inside your vehicle because the more light you have inside the less you see outside.
If your car has a light auto position, put it on, it will take care of putting the light on and off by itself.
Don’t wait until it is dark to turn your lights on. You can put them on when it starts transitioning from evening time to night. This way you will adapt faster once it gets dark.
2. Be alert always
Let your focus be on the road, don’t allow little distraction. Be cautious of the fact that you are not the only one using the road – you can monitor activities around you with your mirrors. Trucks and other large vehicles move mostly at night and you may have them to contend with on the road which is another reason you must be alert so you know what to do in case of a tanker accident.
When driving at night, try as much as you can to not pick up strangers on the way. Many have regretted doing this, some it cost them their lives others their cars. Except in emergency occasions where you are very certain of your safety please just keep straight at your driving business.
3. Be cautious at intersections
When arriving at an intersection, slow down and move close enough to intersection. If you don’t see much to the other sides of the road because of parked vehicles, look out for reflections on the body of other cars parked on the road to detect oncoming vehicles. Make sure the road is clear then flash your light before going across.
>>> Highly recommend you read this post: Different types of road junctions in Nigeria & tips to drive through them safely
Facing such a complex roundabout, how should you move?
4. Take note of other road users
Be very attentive for other road users who do not have lights on them. For example some bicycle users do not have a lights, although this isn’t right and they shouldn’t be cycling in the dark, you do not want to have a casualty on your hands and get into trouble with law enforcement.
Also when around a lot of pedestrians, do well to reduce your speed and keep your attention on the road.
5. Don’t drive if tired
Fatigue is a major cause of drowsiness when driving at night and this may cause you to fall asleep while driving.
For this reason, try not to drive for too long distances at night. After a long day and in some areas fewer road users, there is less engagement on the road to keep you spurred and you may begin to feel drowsy while driving. For some, drinking coffee, taking energy drink, winding down your windows, singing out loud, increasing the car AC or any other trick to avoid sleep may not work especially when driving in intense traffic where you stop often and with little mental stimulation. The best thing to do is pull over at a very safe place and take a quick nap. Ensure you are not committing any offence pulling over where you do and also make sure it is safe enough for you.
>>> You don't have to always fall asleep while driving. These 6 tips to avoid sleepiness behind the wheel will help you overcome this.
6. Don’t drink and drive
Statistics shows in Nigeria that one of the major causes of road accidents is drunk driving. if you are going to drive don’t drink and if you are going to drink don’t drive. You may think that after a few glasses of your favorite drink you are up for a good drive but you just maybe setting yourself up for a great waterloo. When you are drunk you have very reduced mental stimulation and this may lead to uncontrolled drowsiness.
If it is not you getting into to trouble with law enforcement, You may sleep off at instances where your car comes to stop like intersections and traffic lights. Worst still with little or no excitement on the road you may sleep off at top speed and lose control of the car resulting in a fatal accident.
Drunk driving will get you into trouble either with FRSC or Grim Reaper
Also take note of other drunk drivers. When you meet someone driving out of place, try to keep enough distance between you and them especially during weekends and public holidays.
7. Keep valuables away
Don’t leave valuable items in plain sight as this may attracts thieves and hoodlums causing damage to your car and putting your life at risk. Also carrying a lot of cash around in your car is not advisable. If there is a need for cash to be transported do so during the day or better still avoid it totally whether day or night.
You are sure to have a beautiful driving experience following these 7 night driving practises.
>>> Follow our guides on Naijauto.com and learn how to drive safe and smart.