How to drive safely at night

Almost half (40%) of road collisions occur in the dark, despite the roads being much quieter at these times. Drowsiness, glare, poor visibility and careless driving all combine to make the night a time when you need to take extra care.
Perhaps you’ve been involved in a night-time accident in the past and now you’re looking for affordable convicted driver insurance so you can get back on the road with the minimum of fuss?
Let’s take a look at how you can improve your safety on the roads at night.

Why our eyes work differently at night

We are not naturally nocturnal creatures, so our eyes are not well suited to seeing in the dark. The problem gets worse as we get older; at age 15 our eyes recover from glare from a bright light within one second. By the age of 65, it takes us nine seconds.
We are able to see shorter distances ahead at night, meaning there is less opportunity to spot hazards in the road ahead. There is also the glare from oncoming headlights or well-lit buildings, which can make us briefly unable to see well or at all.
The darkness makes it harder to see other road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists, even if they are wearing high-visibility clothing or using lights. Motorcycles can also be tricky to spot if they are a single light amid other car traffic.
A close up of a woman's eye

Drowsiness and driving 

Falling asleep at the wheel is a huge problem, accounting for 20% of serious accidents on motorways and monotonous roads (for example long, straight dual carriageways) in Britain.

When roads are empty and quiet, and there are few challenges such as tight bends, steep hills or adverse weather conditions, boredom can easily lead to drowsiness.
Night time also unfortunately brings out a higher number of irresponsible drivers. Drink driving peaks at around midnight and young drivers trying to impress their mates are also more likely to hit the road after dark. Even if you’re driving carefully, other road users may not be.


Top tips for driving in the dark

  1. Be observant

At night, you will need to leave longer to check for oncoming traffic at junctions and roundabouts and you will need to look more carefully for other road users before carrying out manoeuvres or turning. It’s harder to see, so give your eyes and brain more time to spot hazards.

  1. Allow plenty of time

If you’re out at night, chances are you’ve got somewhere important to get to, for example catching a flight or arriving for an early morning shift at work.

Not many of us drive at night for the pleasure of it. Allow lots of time so you can feel calm and relaxed, which will help you make safer decisions as a driver.

If you already have a speeding conviction, you won’t want to add more points or fines. Check out our convicted driver insurance at Insurance Factory to make sure you’re getting the best deal for you.

  1. Don’t drive tired

Being sleepy behind the wheel can be just as dangerous as drink-driving. Avoid driving wherever possible if you have not slept well. Keep the window open for fresh air, play music and take regular stops to help you stay awake. A coffee or two might help, too.

  1. Don’t drive under the influence

It’s really not worth the risk of harming yourself or others, and/or getting a criminal record by driving when under the influence of drink or drugs – including some medications.

Not to mention, being found guilty of drink-driving will make it much harder to find car insurance – you’d need to find a specialist convicted driver insurance provider if so.
 An empty beer glass in a dark room
  1. Watch out for drinkers

Pedestrians who have had a pint or six can be really dangerous, stumbling or falling into the road. If you’re driving in an area with pubs or clubs, slow down and allow plenty of space before passing people on their way home.

  1. Don’t assume other drivers are responsible

It’s more likely at night that other drivers will be under the influence of drink or drugs, or drowsy at the wheel. If another driver seems to be driving erratically, allow plenty of space and consider slowing or stopping to create distance between you.

  1. Have regular eye tests

Our eyes tend to deteriorate slowly and gradually, so it’s not always easy to tell that you might need help. There are many eye problems that can affect night vision, or you might simply be a bit short-sighted – regular checks will reveal all.

  1. Maintain your car

Driving with broken headlights is going to put you and other road users at risk, not to mention running the risk of trouble with the police. Check your lights regularly so you can be sure they work as intended.

  1. Switch on your lights

We all know you should have lights on when it’s fully dark, but dawn and twilight should also prompt you to reach for the switch. Lights should be on before sunset and an hour after sunrise to help other road users spot you.

A time lapse of a motorway at night with light trails visible
  1. Dip your lights

Reduce the glare for oncoming drivers by dipping your lights as soon as you see someone approaching. You should also dip your lights if a cyclist is approaching.

  1. Keep your windows and windshield clean

It’s hard enough driving in dark conditions without struggling to peer through smeary windows as well. Dirty, greasy windows and screens will increase glare and make it even harder to see. Windscreens can become covered in a film of dust blown at them by fans and heaters, so they must be cleaned regularly.

  1. Watch out for animals

On country roads, wild animals may stray into the road. Keeping your speed down and being on your guard will help prevent accidents.

Think through what you would do when faced by an animal; it may be safer to hit a smaller animal, but swerving could be the best course of action for a larger animal like a deer, depending on the circumstances.
  1. Improve your driving skills

The Pass Plus test is a great way to brush up your driving skills and improve your safety at night. Driving in the dark is covered in the Pass Plus modules. Taking the test can bring down premiums, even for convicted driver insurance.

Do you have a conviction, but need insurance you can rely on? Get a quote for convicted driver insurance from Insurance Factory today.