Tips for driving in the dark

As the winter draws in, you might find yourself driving in the dark a lot more. Being out on the roads at night is a completely different driving experience, and can be a little daunting, especially if you’re in an unfamiliar hire car.

Take a look at our 6 top tips for driving in the dark to help keep all road users safe and happy.

1. Take care of your lights

You need to know that all your lights are in perfect working order. It’s the law for a reason! Your lights allow you to see and be seen by others using the road. Make sure your headlights, break lights, fog light and indicators are all working perfectly. If you think a bulb needs replacing, get it done as soon as you can.

Your full beam is a really useful tool for driving in the dark too. These brighter lights increase your visibility and help you navigate the roads. Just make sure you turn off the full beam when another road user is passing on the opposite side of the road so you don’t dazzle them.

2. Keep your windows clean

It seems obvious, but with wet, dirty roads in winter, keeping your windows clean might be harder than you think. Make sure you keep your car clean and your visibility is as clear as possible to help when driving in the dark.

car break lights in the rain

3. Don’t look at other headlights  

At night, your eyes are drawn to light sources. But when you’re driving, looking at other road user’s lights can be dazzling. The glare from their lights can impair your vision and make it hard for you to see any hazards on the road ahead.

When you can see another vehicle coming, turn your gaze to the white line on the edge of the road. This helps you keep a good road position and protects your eyes.

4. Look after yourself

If you’re worried about driving at night, taking some simple self-care actions can help. Leave plenty of time for your journey so you won’t feel stressed when driving. This is also helpful if you make a wrong turn in the dark – you have time to get back on track.

Don’t drive if you’re sleepy as driving fatigue is dangerous for you and other road users. The warmth of the car heater and the darkness outside could cause you to drift off to sleep when behind the wheel.  

You can also book yourself in for an eye test if you think your night vision isn’t as good as it should be.

car driving in the evening with an empty road ahead

5. Leave plenty of space

The more space you leave yourself on the road, the more reaction time you give yourself. If a person or animal suddenly appears on the road, having the space to break safely or room to swerve can prevent an accident. Likewise, the driver in front of you might spot a hazard that you can’t yet see in the dark, so leaving room between your two vehicles gives you both time to react.

6. Get experience

If you’re nervous driving in the dark, you’ll only get more comfortable with practice. Head out with a more confident driver in the passenger seat to help you and get some well needed practice out on the roads at night.

We hope these tips will help give you a bit more confidence when driving in the dark. Our blog is full of useful content to help you get through the winter months, with advice about winter tyres, driving in the rain, and how to care for your car in winter. Check them out.