Dimly-lit roads are a common thing here in the Philippines—especially in the province, where local governments seem to mistake motorists for nocturnal animals capable of seeing hundreds of meters ahead in pitch black darkness. Where was I when they were handing out night vision goggles?
Seriously though, there's not much to worry about when driving in the dark, provided you know what you're doing, of course. And no, there's a lot more you need to take note of than whether your lights are switched on or not. Here are a few more of them:
1) Please make sure your lights are switched on. Yes, yes, we know we said there's more to take note of. But it's very easy to forget to turn them on after pulling out of the parking lot at night, so we're reminding you again. Make sure to switch them on before even leaving the slot.
2) Switch all your cabin lights off. If you're pulling over to look for your phone which somehow found its way underneath your chair, go ahead. Otherwise, keep them off. You want to be focused on what's illuminated by your headlights at all times. It's the same principle behind why your dash and instrument cluster lights should dim when you switch on your headlights.
3) Always keep your windshield, mirrors, and headlights clean. You want to have as much of the road in your vision as possible, and it's a little difficult when there's more dust or mud on there than usual. Foggy headlights can be killers in the dark, so make sure to have them treated as well.
4) Dim your headlights when you're following or approaching a fellow motorist. This isn't just out of courtesy, but out of safety as well. Philippine law requires you to switch to low beam lights if you are within 200 meters of the car in front of you. Likewise….
5) Don't look straight into headlights of oncoming cars. If this happens, slow down a bit and avoid looking into the oncoming motorist's lights. Some may be bright enough to temporarily blind other drivers—drive slow until your vision returns to normal if this is the case.
6) Stay alert for crossing animals. This is especially true on national roads and provincial highways. One thing to watch out for is the glare of your headlights in an animal's eyes; it will appear even before your headlights reveal the whole animal. Slow down for both your sakes if you spot them.
7) Foglights can help. You don't necessarily need to be caught in a thick fog to use them. They're lower, and while they don't reach as far, illuminate a wider area in your immediate vicinity.
8) Remember to remove your shades, and don't go overboard with the tint. For obvious reasons. Private momol sessions inside your vehicle isn't worth sacrificing visibility during the nighttime.
9) If you're sleepy, don't push it. Eyes feeling strained? Is your body fatigued? It's time to pull over for a quick power nap or grab a cup of coffee. Even better, if you have a substitute driver, ask him or her to take over. Studies have shown that lack of sleep before taking to the wheel increases the chance of an accident considerably.
10) Light is might. There are a ton of aftermarket lighting options easily available to the average motorist. If you find yourself frequenting dark roads, maybe you should look into buying some. Of course, just like with tints, don't go overboard. Fellow drivers won't appreciate drowning in light when they run into you on the road.