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6 Safety Tips for Driving After Dark

A man sitting in a car with one hand on the wheel looking through his front window. It is dark outside and there are spots of orange light reflected in his front dash.

Compared with daytime driving, operating a car after sunset is like the difference between, well, night and day. New drivers may be especially intimidated by a road that looks very different after dark. Curves and obstructions are harder to see, motorists can be blinded by oncoming cars’ high beams and fatigue can chip away at your vigilance behind the wheel. So, we’ve rounded up a few tips to help new nighttime drivers travel safely.

Check your ride

Regularly inspect your vehicle’s headlights, turn signals and brake lamps. Replace any burned out bulbs as necessary and ask your mechanic to check that your headlights are angled properly.

Keep it clean

A spot-free windshield and headlights will help to prevent glare and distorted vision.

Dim the lights

Turn down your interior dashboard lighting to improve your view of the road. And, as a courtesy to oncoming drivers, switch to your low beams when you’re within 500 feet (about 150 metres) of an oncoming vehicle.

Don’t drive impaired—it’s the law

There is zero tolerance for alcohol and cannabis for young and novice drivers. Drinking alcohol and cannabis consumption can also impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely. Effects from cannabis can be felt immediately in some cases and can significantly impair decision making, coordination, reaction time and ability to pay attention and judge distances.

Fatigue can be fatal during a nighttime drive. Plan to take a break every two hours or so if you’re travelling at night. If you feel tired, don’t gamble your life—or someone else’s. Pull over to a safe spot and get some rest.

Book an eye exam

Vision is key to road safety. Protect yourself and others with regular visits to your eye doctor.

Slow down and scan

The best advice for new drivers—or anyone on the road after dark—is to slow down. It’s harder to see what lies ahead of you at night, so drive defensively. Scan for animals, particularly nocturnal ones. If you spot another vehicle veering off the road or driving erratically, the best thing you can do is give them lots of space. Consider calling 911 if they’re putting themselves, or others, in danger.

Learn more

If you have a young driver in your family, CAA has more safety tips. If you need to add a new driver to your insurance policy to ensure you have the proper coverage or simply wish to review your own policy, visit CAA to speak with a licenced CAA Auto Insurance Agent today.

Image credit: NoSystem images/iStock