motorway nightRui Vieira/PA Wire

With the shortest day of the year fast approaching, tips for driving in the dark have never been more valuable, with more and more motorists finding their car journeys to and from work shrouded in darkness.

And with many parts of Britain's motorways not lit as part of the government's budget-saving moves, road safety charity the IAM has come up with a host of tips to ensure safe driving on our high-speed roads during the winter months.

Planning is key
Driving in the dark can cause fatigue - plan your journey, scheduling at least one stop every two hours.

Take a break
Don't ignore warning signs of fatigue. In extreme cases, have a caffeine drink and sleep for 20 minutes while it takes effect. You can only do this once per journey; it won't have the same effect if you do it more than once.

Share and share alike
Driving with a partner? Share the driving if possible to reduce fatigue.

Clean way
Many stretches of motorway are not lit during hours of darkness - to improve your view as far as possible, keep your lights, mirrors and windscreen clean.

Look out
Watch for brake lights up ahead to foresee any changes in traffic speed or queues which you may be joining.

Break down?
If you break down, pull over on to the hard shoulder and stop as far to the left as you can, pointing your wheels in towards the kerb. When stopped on the hard shoulder, leave your vehicle and get as far away from the road as possible, behind the crash barrier, and up the bank if there is one.

Rodger said: "Although motorways are our safest roads, darkness brings with it additional challenges which increase the risk of fatal accidents. Plan your journey from beginning to end and take necessary precautions to keep yourself and your family safe this Christmas."