Travelling when it's dark

Road users face greater risk

Picture of cyclists Last weekend marked the end of British Summer Time for another year. The clocks went back one hour and its getting dark earlier. We will all be spending more time walking, cycling and driving in darkness, which is far more dangerous than walking, cycling or driving in daylight.


Walking at night.
As the clocks go back and the nights draw in, everyone is more vulnerable as you are less visible to motorists. We need to wear something bright and take extra care when out and about near roads.

The key messages are:

Make sure you can be easily seen at all times, but especially at night, on dark days and in bad weather.

Bright or fluorescent clothes show up best by day, especially in dull or misty weather.
By night, reflective material is best and shows up in car headlights – fluorescent clothing doesn't work after dark.

Reflective tape can be put on clothing, school bags and equipment.
Cross the road at the safest place possible for example, zebra, pelican, puffin and patrolled crossings.
Use the Green Cross Code: Stop, Look, Listen, Live.
If you are out at night, choose routes that are well-lit by streetlights and cross at well-lit places.

Cycling at night.
The advice given to pedestrians about being seen applies equally to cyclists. In addition, bikes need to be equipped with good lights. It is an offence to cycle at night without a white front light, a red back light and a red reflector at the back.

Driving at night.
Ninety percent of a driver's reaction depends on vision, and vision is severely limited at night.
The key messages are:
Make sure all lights are clean, working and adjusted properly.
Make sure the windscreen is clean inside and out.
Use headlights whenever visibility is reduced – for example, early morning, at dusk, when it's raining or in any gloomy conditions. It'll help others to see you.
Increase your following distance so you don't blind the driver ahead of you.
Don't dazzle others with your main beam.
Reduce your speed. You should be able to stop within the distance you can see.
If your vehicle breaks down, pull off the road as far as possible and switch on the hazard warning lights.
Older drivers face greater difficulties. A 50 year old driver may need twice as much light to be able to see as well as a 30 year old.


Please also visit our advice and support pages, for more information when you are out and about.