WITH the holiday getaway fast approaching Spanish car maker SEAT has issued safety guidelines to remind motorists of potential hazards when travelling at night.
As many families opt to travel through the night when roads are quieter, SEAT is highlighting the increased risk of accidents due to reduced visibility and the onset of driver fatigue, especially when driving on the Continent.
The company says that night-time accidents in Europe cause 37 per cent of all driving casualties.
To make journeys as safe as possible, SEAT suggests:
Turn on your low beams at dusk for better visibility and to be seen. You must drive with low beams at night, when it is raining or with poor visibility. The main beam should be used whenever possible, to avoid dazzling oncoming traffic. Some vehicles are equipped with an automatic dipped beam system that turns the lights on and off depending on exterior light conditions.
Some 90 per cent of the information needed to drive is processed through our sense of sight, and as visual perception decreases at night it takes longer to identify pedestrians, animals or traffic signals. In these cases, LED headlamps are a great ally, as they generate better light quality than halogen bulbs and the light they emit is very similar to daylight, which greatly improves visibility.
Adapt your speed to be able to brake within the headlamp range. It is advisable to drive slower than you normally would during the day. The recommended speed when driving with low beams in Spain is 90 km/h.
Maintain a safe distance. Leave a margin of no less than three seconds between you and the car in front of you.
Recognise early signs of fatigue such as if your eyelids get heavy. A tell-tale sign is if you have trouble staying within your lane or if it is hard to remember where you have driven in the last mile. Drowsiness affects your reflexes and the effect is similar to driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.5 grams per litre. At the first signs of drowsiness it is important to stop and rest or sleep until you can safely continue on your journey.
Some vehicles are equipped with a drowsiness detector that identifies when the driver is tired and displays a warning sign on the instrument panel that recommends taking a break.