- Night Vision
Driving at night has a great effect on your vision including:
Reduced visual acuity
A decrease in distance and depth perception
Colours and contrasts are less distinct
A constant adjusting by your eyes between darkness and bright headlights etc
Fatigue and it’s effects on vision
Only road users who are lit up by your headlights will be seen, and so they may seem to come out of nowhere.
The most dangerous time to drive is at dusk due to a bright horizon and sky, and dark road.
To drive safely at night, be sure to:
– Reduce your speed in accordance to the reach of your headlights
– Increase your following distance
– Allow a larger safety margin as all manoeuvres require more time to complete due to a difficulty in judging distance.
– Use your high beams on unlit roads (remember to turn to low beam at least 100m before approaching another vehicle).
– Scan as far ahead as possible
– Clean windows and lights
– Avoid interior glare
– Use your high beams and signal lights to communicate with other road users
– Activate defroster and defogger as needed
- Overdriving Your Headlights
When driving at night, if your stopping distance is longer than the range of your headlights, you are over-driving your headlights and will not be able to stop before reaching the hazard.
Reduce your speed in accordance to the reach of your headlights
When turning at night, your headlights face straight and thus you are not able to see any vehicles coming around the turn. Reduce your speed on turns.
In Urban Areas
Use your selective vision to identify the data needed to drive safely
Increase the intensity of the dash lighting in order to easily see the information displayed
In Rural Areas
Poor lighting combined with high speeds are a dangerous combination
Dim the dash lighting and use your high beams
Use as much information as possible, including the line of utility poles, the treetops, and reflection of oncoming lights
Glare is temporary blindness that happens while the eyes re-adjust from light to dark
It is important to avoid glare from the dash lighting, dome light and other interior sources
At night, it is important to flip your interior rear view mirror to the night position to ensure that you are not blinded by glare from vehicles following you
Use your low beams on will lit roads
When approaching a vehicle in oncoming traffic, change your lights from high to low beam to avoid blinding the other driver.
If another vehicle’s lights are blinding you, flash your lights to communicate that they need to change to low beam.
If following a slower vehicle at night, change to your low beams, and only activate your high beams after passing.
When faced by glare from both sides:
– Flash your high beams
– Check your rearview mirror
– Reduce your speed
– Close one eye and look ahead to the centre of the lane.
Once passed the multiple sources of glare, open your closed eye. This eye has not been affected by glare, and can be used to guide your vehicle.
Fog and Smog
Fog is rapid condensation of humidity in the air.
Smog is fog with smoke particles.
When faced with smog/fog:
– Reduce speed and drive slow and steady
– Use low beams
– Increase following distance
– Use lane markings as a guide (tail lights of vehicle ahead may lead you off the roadway)
– Use defogger/defroster and windshield wipers as needed
– Be alert to faster vehicles approaching behind you
– Use hazard lights, or flash brake lights to warn of imminent danger
In very dense fog:
– Safely pull off the road and stop your vehicle
– Activate the hazard lights and the dome light
– Turn off headlights
– Do not return to roadway until conditions improve.
- Sun and Glare
If driving into the sun, wear polarized sunglasses
“Adjust visor to block the sun out of your eyes
Increase following distance and drive more slowly”
If driving with the sun behind you, oncoming vehicles cannot see you. Be sure your lights are turned on.
Winter is tough on vehicles. Be sure you and your vehicle are prepared.
Before winter begins
Get an Engine-Tune Up
Replace summer engine oil with a an engine oil that flows well at colder temperatures
A block heater may be a good investment to ensure starting in extreme cold
Keep your fuel level as full as possible to ensure the fuel line doesn’t allow moisture to get in.
Allow at least 15 minutes of driving time to elapse before turning off the engine, allowing any moisture to exit the fuel line
In extreme cold, add gas line antifreeze at each fill up
In the cold, it takes more energy to get the engine started, and the battery has less power
Ensure you have a fully charged battery
Battery terminals should be clean.
Tires should be the correct type for the winter conditions for your area
All 4 tires should be the same type, and inflated properly
Cooling/Heating Antifreeze must be added to ensure your car is protected at winter temperatures
Check air ducts and fan to ensure good performance
Very important for use on slippery roads. Parking brake should also function properly.
Winter wiper blades should be installed
Washer fluid that works at your local winter temperatures should be in the reservoir, and a refill jug in the trunk.
Check for leaks and looseness.
Locals and Seals
Ensure the seals around doors/trunk are in good shape to keep the heat in when driving
In winter, it is wise to always carry in your car a brush, scraper, snow shovel, sand or salt, traction aids (anti-skid grids or mats), lock de-icer (carry on your person)
In case of mechanical failure:
Small tool kit
Spare fuses and bulbs
If your car breaks down for an extended period, it will necessitate carrying these items to combat the cold. Candles and matches/lighter, metal candle holder (for heat and light), Non-perishable food with a high caloric content, A thermos of hot, sweet, non-alcoholic beverage, Blankets, warm clothes, gloves and plastic bags, A first aid kit.
Approach To Your Vehicle
Start engine and activate defroster/defogger
Remove snow from windows, roof, trunk, tire wells, lights and license plates
Unstick windshield wipers and scrape windows
When ready to get in the vehicle, remove snow from shoes to ensure that your shoes will touch the pedals as directly as possible.
Tap the accelerator to reset the idle control
Move into gear, and drive slowly for the first few minutes to allow the entire power train to warm up and become lubricated
Leaving Straighten the front wheels
Release the brake pedal and apply gentle pressure on the accelerator
Once in motion, press firmly on the accelerator, and gradually increase your speed.
If getting stuck in ruts in the snow, reverse direction and get more momentum
Do not spin your tires as the extra friction and added heat will cause the snow under the tires to change to water and then ice.
Be gentle with the brakes, accelerator and steering.
Sudden or quick manoeuvres are the most common cause of losing control on slippery surfaces
Start windshield wipers before nearing other vehicles, as there is likely to be snow spraying on to your windshield
Follow the path of other vehicles and drive in the lane that has less snow/ice. Avoid getting in ruts, but if you do, do NOT attempt to get out of a rut at high speed.
Extra caution should be made on bridges, elevated expressways and shaded areas, as ice is more quick to form in these areas
Allow more room to brake
Ease off the accelerator gradually
Should you ease off your course, shift to Neutral (N)
Apply the brake gently, and if a wheel skids, release the brakes and press even more gently. If they still skid, shift to Neutral and pump the brakes
In heavy snow, create a path for yourself by driving by your parking spot, and then reversing
It is always preferable that your vehicle is able to leave in a forward position, especially in winter
The parking brake can stick in cold weather. To release it, slowly reverse while releasing the mechanism
Stuck In Snow/Ice
Make sure tires are straight
Drive slowly. Spinning tires will get you in deeper.
Limit range of travel to that available without causing any tire spinning
Accelerate gently when the tires grip, shift to neutral and then coast
Brake when you reach the limit of travel
Repeat in the opposite direction and you will rock your way out of being stuck
Using Traction Aids
You can use your vehicle mats, with the spiked side down, to help move out of being stuck
Place the mat in front (if going forward) or in back (if reversing) of the driving wheels
Advance slowly and cautiously. Do not spin your wheels
When Stalled or Snowbound
If possible, get your vehicle on to the shoulder of the road
Activate the hazard lights
Open window slightly for air circulation
Turn off engine
Get survival kit from the trunk
Run engine for 10 minutes every hour to warm vehicle and charge the battery.
Ensure the tail pipe is clear.
Use the plastic bag to encase your feet and legs, retaining body heat
Keep awake. If accompanied, take turns sleeping for short periods
Do not leave the vehicle unless you are CERTAIN you can reach help nearby. The vehicle is a warm shelter.
Use the candles, food, and beverages sparingly.