Driving your car at night - Helpful tips for driving in the dark

car on road during the night

November 22, 2021

As the draw in and you’re struggling to see when driving at night, it’s important that you seek the necessary medical and professional advice to avoid risking your own life, as well as other people’s.

However, if you’re just looking for ways on how to improve your driving at night, including how to stay safe when driving on motorways at night, we’ve compiled a list of our top road safety tips for driving at night that can help put your mind at ease and help you become a better night driver.

Turn your headlights on before it gets dark

One of the most obvious, but still entirely important safe driving tips at night to bear in mind, is to ensure that your headlights are turned on before it even gets dark.

Nowadays, many cars are being built with automatic headlights that turn on whenever it starts to get a tiny bit dark, but if you’re driving an older car and your lights don’t come on automatically, it’s important that you pay attention to when you need to turn your lights on.

There are no exact rules in place as to when it’s a good time to put your headlights on, but a good rule of thumb to remember is to switch them on an hour before sunset and leave them on until an hour after sunrise. Of course, if it’s a particularly dark or rainy day, you may wish to switch your lights on much sooner in order to see better and to ensure that you’re driving as safely as possible.

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Make sure all your lights are in correct working order

Another safe driving tip that should go without saying is that you need to make sure all your lights are in the correct working order. If you’re driving your car at night, you need to carry out regular checks to ensure that all your car’s lights are working properly.

It’s actually illegal to drive at night without proper working front and rear lights on your car, so this night driving tip is especially important to remember.

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Use full beam where necessary

Of course, if you’re driving on motorways at night, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be using your full beam at all as this will blind other drivers on the motorway and the bright light distraction could be very dangerous.

However, if you’re driving on quieter country roads where there is very little or no street light, you will need to use your full beam accordingly to help you see the road better. Of course, it’s important that you pay attention to when you should be using your full beam and as soon as you see another car approaching, you should switch to your regular headlights immediately.

Take regular breaks

Taking regular breaks while driving is important regardless of whether you’re driving during the day or at night as long periods of driving can make you very sleepy and your concentration levels will likely become laxer the longer you’re driving.

Where it’s safe to do so, you should pull over to the side of the road for a little break and to stretch your legs, or you can use a service station to grab a coffee or to take a little nap if necessary so that you’re not driving tired.

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Never get behind the wheel if you’re tired

Speaking of driving tired, you should never get behind the wheel in the first place if you’re feeling tired. Sometimes driving at night is unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean to say that you should drive while feeling tired and if you’re prone to getting sleepy while behind the wheel, you may need to come up with a solution that doesn’t require you to drive tired.

Get your eyes checked regularly

According to the College of Optometrists, everyone over the age of 16 should get their eyes tested every two years, or more frequently if they suffer from eye problems.

If you notice that it’s been a while since you last had an eye test, it might be a good idea to book an appointment to get your eyes checked in case you might need glasses for activities such as driving. Tired eyes when driving at night can be a sign of something more than just regular tiredness, especially if driving makes you feel overly tired, so a quick eye test will be able to provide you with an answer to any eye-related issues you might have.

Ensure that you’re more alert for pedestrians, children, animals and cyclists

Of course, it goes without saying that you should remain vigilant and careful at all times when driving, but it’s especially important when driving your car at night when there is significantly reduced visibility and you might not be as alert as you are when driving during the day.

With the dark nights coming in much earlier during the winter months, you might find yourself driving past schools or near elderly people when it’s dark so it’s extremely important that you take extra care when driving around these areas.

Cyclists can also be trickier to spot in the dark, especially if they’re not wearing the appropriate reflective clothing, so you will need to take extra care to pass them wide so you’re not at risk of hitting them.

There will also likely be more animals about at night in the winter, especially on country lanes and roads where nocturnal animals frequent, so you need to keep an eye out to avoid hitting them and ensure that you’re driving with the utmost care at all times.

Driving at night isn’t always the most enjoyable experience for some people, but if it’s a necessity, you will need to find a way to drive in the dark that feels comfortable and safe for you. Follow our tips above to ensure you’re as safe as possible on the roads at night! 

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