IT'S that time of the year where our daily commute is done in the dark.

Remember your headlights will be your lifeline so keep them clean and make sure they are working properly. It is amazing how different a road looks at night so take extra care and allow extra space and time in areas where vulnerable road users are likely.

If you’re a pedestrian in the dark, take notice of the state of the pavement and, if possible, walk in a well-lit area. Carrying a wind-up torch will help you and a driver on the road, and it’s a lot safer than using the torch on your phone.

Keep hi-visibility clothing in your car in case of a breakdown.

Some rural roads do not have pavements, and although we would never suggest walking on the road in the dark you may have set off as a pedestrian when it’s light and the sun may be setting as you’re walking. As a pedestrian, plan to get to your destination before it gets dark. And as a driver, remember that not all rural roads have a pavement.

Drive or ride every road as if you’ve never done it before as the road situation could be different each time. When travelling, be prepared as more wildlife is around this time of year and circumstances can change from day to day.

Reduce your speed, understand the limit of your vision and plan ahead. The limit of your vision at night is often the limit of your headlight beam, which is where you must be able to stop.

If you’re travelling through a rural area at night, it’s possible for a herd of deer to cross the road, so those signs warning you of wild animals you'll have previously passed will suddenly make sense.

Richard Gladman

Head of driving and riding standards

IAM RoadSmart