Night driving

Driving at night may offer quieter roads, but reduced vision and tiredness can make the journey a dangerous one. Follow our night-time driving advice to stay alert and safe on the road.

The danger of driving at night

Almost half of all fatal car accidents occur at night, despite far fewer vehicles being on the road. With around 90% of a driver's reaction time relying on vision, the reduced visibility at night is one of the main reasons that driving after dark is so dangerous. Encountering other vehicles that have their headlights on full-beam and seeing lights within your own car can be distracting and will reduce the effectiveness of your eyes. Add to this fatigue from driving when you would normally be asleep, and it's easy to see why night time driving is dangerous for motorists who are not prepared for it.

Night time driving advice

Keeping your windows clean inside and out and checking that your lights are clean will help you see other vehicles, and ensure that they can see you. A window that looks clear during the day can appear streaky at night, and will make it much harder to see the road.

If you are not sure whether it is dark enough to turn on your headlights, do so anyway because they help other drivers see you. Check that your lights are appropriately aimed, so that they will not blind other drivers, but still cover enough ground in front of you to see where you are going. Turn off full-beam headlights as soon as another vehicle is in front of you. If an oncoming vehicle is using full beam headlights and you can't see clearly, look for the road lines on your left and follow them until you can look straight ahead again.

Some dashboard lights are bright and the glare will reduce the perceptiveness of your eyes to events outside the car. Turn down the brightness of the dashboard display and ensure that map lights or smartphone screens are not distracting for you.

Leave more space between your car and the one in front than you would during daylight hours, and reduce your speed. This will compensate for your difficulty judging other vehicle's speeds and the delayed reaction time that poor visibility brings.

Include time for breaks when you plan your journey so that you stay focused while driving. The Highway Code recommends a rest of at least 15 minutes for every two hours on the road. If you feel sleepy you should stop where it is safe to do so to have a nap followed by a caffeinated drink, if possible. The longer duration of your journey will be worth it to stay safe and alert.

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