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Tips For Driving at Night

The idea of being able to go wherever you want, whenever you want is pretty exciting.  There’s nothing like the feeling of freedom that driving can give you, and especially driving at night when you can make your own way to parties and your friend’s houses without having to rely on someone else.  You should know, however, that for young drivers night time driving can be a seriously dangerous activity – statistically there are many more accidents (including fatal crashes) after dark than during the day.  With this in mind, we’ve provided some ways to ensure that you drive as safely as possible at night.

Hazards At Night

Driving during the day can be difficult enough, with numerous obstacles and hazards such as other cars, pedestrians, cyclists, and roundabouts.  There’s so much to remember, and as a new driver your poor brain is probably a little overwhelmed with all the tasks, road rules and safe driving tips you’re learning  (“check your blind spot!”).  Now combine all this with low (or no) light, bright dazzling lights from oncoming cars and heavy traffic and you can see that night time driving is no mean feat.  This means that driving safely at night is even more important.  This means that you should:

  • Plan your journey carefully so that you know where you’re going and are aware of any difficult driving areas or if you’ll hit heavy traffic
  • Think about having an experienced driver along for the ride
  • Avoid distractions in the car including mobile phones, food or drinks, and make sure any friends or family members with you act responsibly
  • Always have clean windows and mirrors to maximise your visibility
  • Get as much practice as you can at driving at night, either with a family member or friend (if they meet the standards as a Qualified Supervising Driver) or a professional driving instructor

The “Space Cushion”

While it may sound like some accessory found in the home furnishings section of Ikea, the concept of “space cushion” driving is actually an important technique in being safe on the roads.  Most experienced drivers use the “space cushion” automatically without even thinking of it.  So what is it?  Essentially it’s an invisible space that you should keep around the front, back and sides of your car while driving – many experts suggest that you should try to maintain a distance of at least 3 seconds behind the car in front.  It also means responding to what’s happening within that space.  For example if the traffic suddenly speeds up or slows down, you should try to match the other cars’ pace.

Because night driving is more dangerous, keeping a safe distance between you and the vehicles around you is even more important.  The more space you put between yourself and other cars, the longer you’ll have to react to things happening around you such as cars braking suddenly.  Many accidents happen because a car is travelling too closely behind another, and has no time to slow down or stop when the car in front slows down.

Safe Driving