Tips for driving at night

Driving at night means reduced visibility. Even the most normal driving situation is more dangerous. This is because most motorists are unaware of the dramatic effect darkness can have on their ability to cope behind the wheel once the night has drawn in.

The bottom line is to reduce your speed at night and increase your stopping distance. We all know how unpredictable the roads can be even in the daytime. Night driving can be worse:

  • The road may be blocked by flooding or bad weather.
  • There may be an accident up ahead.
  • An animal may suddenly run in front of the vehicle.

Your chances of surviving these scenarios – and not hurting someone else – are greatly increased if you are driving at a lower, safer speed.

Below are some more tips on driving at night – safely and with confidence…

What should I do first?

Before you make your journey get a friend to help you check that your lights are working. Together, check that:

  • The indicators, rear lights, brake lights, sidelights, headlights, and main beams are all working properly.
  • The glass on all these lights is clean.
    Your windscreen is clean.

What about vehicle lights?

When driving:

  • Use full beams in urban areas.
  • To avoid ‘blinding’ other drivers, make sure you dip your headlights when another car is approaching or if you are behind another vehicle.
  • If you are dazzled, slow down and stop safely if possible.

Also, as a tip, if oncoming vehicles fail to lower their main beams, avoid glare by focusing on the left edge of the road as a steering guide. If you are still unable to see properly, pull over and let them pass.

Tell me more about my windscreen?

To avoid glare – both inside and out, keep the car windscreen clean at all times. The car windows should never be:

  • Dirty.
  • Clouded by frost or steam.
  • Marred by scratches or cracks.

Also, the screenwash bottle should regularly be topped up.

What else should I be aware of?

Look out for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. And remember, they may not have lights or be wearing bright clothing. Take extra care when driving past pubs, cinemas, theatres, and clubs at closing time.
What if I’m involved in an accident at night?
Move your vehicle off the road as far as possible. If you must leave your vehicle, take a torch and stick to the main road. On the motorway or walking towards oncoming traffic on all other roads, always keep to the hard shoulder.

What about eye examinations?

To make sure that you can see as well as possible when driving at night:

  • Make sure that your eyes are examined regularly.
  • Always wear an up-to-date pair of distance spectacles or contact lenses.
  • Keep a spare pair in the car if possible.
  • Do not use tinted lenses but have them anti-reflection coated if necessary.


Don’t drive at night if you’re tired. If you feel tired when driving, find a safe place to stop and rest.