Tips for driving in the dark during winter

14th Nov 2019
Lisa Boyle

Tips for driving in the dark during winter

There is no doubt that driving in the dark is more dangerous.

Reduced visibility and increased difficulty in judging speed and distance can put even the most experiences of drivers at risk.

Scotland had a total of 8,402 road accidents reported in 2018, so it’s important be prepared and pack a cold weather survival kit for your car.

When the clocks go back, we go from an average of 16 hours of daylight in the summer to a mere eight hours of daylight in the winter. Even then it can feel like it’s dark during the day.

Spending most of our time in darkness requires extra care and caution; particularly when travelling on the roads.

Weather in Scotland is also known for being unpredictable, so we want to ensure you stay safe on the roads during all winter driving conditions.

As part of Road Safety Awareness Month, we’ve came up with a simple but effective guide on how to stay safe while driving in the dark.


Our top tips


  • Keep windows clean to avoid increased glare and condensation – make sure your car screen wash is regularly topped up during the winter months and use de-icing spray and de-icing products to keep your windows clear.
  • Get rid of distractions – This applies in all road conditions but even more so in the dark. Make sure you are fully concentrating on the road while driving in the dark. A pedestrian could walk in front of your car in a split second and if you’re distracted it could result in an accident. Remember that it’s more difficult to see people and animals in the dark.
  • Don’t dazzle others and dip your lights when faced with another road user – the less you use full beam, the better.
  • Switch your headlights on before sunset and keep them on for an hour after sunrise – You want to be as visible as possible when driving in darkness.
  • Have your eyes checked regularly for problems which can affect your night vision – make sure you wear contact lenses or glasses when driving if required and have your eyesight checked by an optician regularly
  • Be aware that other road users may behave erratically or may be caught out by weather condition, so give them more space – Always leave a safe braking distance between your car and the other driver’s.
  • Watch out for pedestrians, especially near pubs and clubs around closing time – when it’s dark, it can be difficult to spot people in dark clothing. Always be on alert for pedestrians and stay focused on the road.
  • Allow more time for your own journey so that you’re not driving under pressure – people are more tempted to cut corners or speed when in a rush and this puts others in danger. Always leave in plenty of time.
  • If you can, dim your dashboard lights and reduce reflections and avoid reducing your night vision
  • Avoid your windows steaming up by keeping on the air con / heating.
  • Remember to switch off fog lights soon as soon as visibility improves

We want to reduce the number of road traffic accidents in Scotland by providing plenty of tips for staying safe this winter.


What to do if you are in a road traffic accident?



  • Stop your car
  • Turn off your engine
  • Use your hazard lights to alert other drivers
  • After these three steps, immediately call 999 to get medical assistance for anyone who has been hurt.
  • Try to capture pictures of the accident at the scene.
  • Obtain details of the other party involved in the accident


Cold weather survival kit for your car


If driving in extreme weather conditions are unavoidable for you this winter, be prepared and pack cold weather survival kit for your car. Things to keep in car for winter:

  • Ice scraper and de-icer
  • Sturdy footwear
  • Wrap up in warm clothing
  • Sunglasses for winter sun
  • Sat-nav or printed route
  • Fully charged phone and charger
  • First-aid kit
  • Torch and spare batteries
  • Jump start cables
  • Shovel
  • Winter driving gloves
  • Blanket & snacks (in case you breakdown)
  • Water and a flask


If you’ve been involved in a road accident and are certain it wasn’t your fault, contact our experts at Watermans Solicitors as soon as possible. Our accident solicitors can help you achieve the  best compensation possible after an accident and advise you on how much compensation you may be entitled to.