Many drivers panic when it comes to a situation where they are forced to drive while its dark, it is one of the most common fears. It is thought that at least half of drivers do not feel as safe driving at night as they do during the day. However, in many cases, it is in fact considerably easier to drive in the dark, and with practice, there should be no issues.
Tips For Driving At Night
Driving while its dark doesn’t have to be a daunting task, start by taking a look at our top tips for driving at night.
- Be Alert: It’s important always to remain alert while driving, but even more so at night when visibility is reduced. Being aware of your surroundings includes anything from animals running into the road to potential drunk drivers. Always keep a lookout for sudden tight bends, so you are prepared and can slow down in advance.
- Keep Your Car Clean: Dirty mirrors, windscreen or even mirrors can reduce visibility for both you and other drivers. Dirt on windscreens are more likely to steam up and can also cause a glare from other drivers headlights.
- Look Out For Pedestrians: Unless they are wearing reflective clothing, which is unlikely unless they are cyclists, pedestrians can easily be missed at night. Take extra care while driving through busy areas such as town centres, especially at the weekend when driving past places like pubs or restaurants.
- Use Main Beam On Unlit Roads: Country roads are very rarely well lit, so if dipped headlights prove unhelpful, switch over to your main beam. Take a look at the driving in the fog page for a guide to the correct full beam symbols. Always switch back to dipped headlights if you see another car approaching, it will dazzle them.
- Increase Stopping Distance: Increasing your stopping distance will give you more of a chance to stop in emergencies, always leave a gap within the range of your headlights.
- Switch Of Headlights When Stationary: Switching off your headlights when stationary will avoid confusion from other drivers.
Laws On Driving At Night
As unlikely as it sounds, there are minimal laws revolving the topic of driving at night, but one of the most prominent is the use of your car horn. It is illegal to sound your horn in a built-up area between the hour’s of 11:30 pm and 7:00 am. If you are caught, you will be fined with a fixed penalty notice of £30, which could increase to up to £1,000 if failure to comply.
If you are a learner, you must still display an L plate at night even if you are taking lessons or practising in a deserted area.
Taking Driving Lessons At Night
It is more than likely that at some point while learning to drive, you will have to take a lesson in the dark. Even more so if you take lessons in the Winter, as it becomes dark from as early as 4 pm onwards. Although taking a driving lesson at night may be a nerve wracking thought, it is great practice for the future. Your surroundings dramatically change in the dark, so practising aspects such as manoeuvres will change and eventually help to increase your driving confidence. Aspects such as more detailed 360-degree observation will have to be carried out before manoeuvring. It will also give you a chance to get used to using full beam lights correctly on country roads.
We spoke to Kevin Hale who provides driving lessons in Liverpool and all surrounding areas in regards to pupils taking lessons at night.
“I think its very important for pupils to try even just once taking a lesson when its dark. You’d be surprised how much easier it actually is, the roads and quiet and there are little people around meaning you can concentrate purely on driving skills.”