Can learner drivers drive at night?
To ensure everybody’s safety, there are quite a few rules and hurdles to jump over before you get in a car and drive. In this article, we cover the steps – and tips – for an often-asked question: can you learn to drive at night?
You first need to obtain your provisional license
You MUST obtain a provisional driving licence if you want to start driving lessons. You can apply for the licence up to three months before the big day, but you have to be 17 to hit the open road. It’s £34 to apply for it online.
You must be supervised whilst learning to drive
An obvious one (we hope!). ‘Supervision’ could be the conventional method of seeking out a qualified driving instructor, but it can also be a friend or family member. If you go for this second option, you will need to arrange your own insurance, as there is specific cover for learner drivers.
Other than that, learning to drive in the UK has surprisingly few rules versus other countries around the world. The exception is Northern Ireland, which is a little bit stricter – you cannot go above 45mph (which rules out motorway driving as a result).
So that means I can learn to drive at night?
Yes, as long as you are meeting the above and have L plates on the vehicle you’re driving, you are free to practice driving at night.
Of course, if you’re starting to drive on winter evenings, this may be unavoidable. We would like to suggest to at least start driving in daylight before tackling the more intimidating choice of night-time.
Practising in all conditions is a good idea though. There are town and city areas, country roads, wet conditions and dual carriageways to build up to. Just remember that learning to drive at night requires respect.
More than 40% of all fatal car accidents occur at night
That is a scary stat. Despite 60% less traffic on the road, over 40% of all fatal car accidents occur at night. So here’s what you should be considering:
Prepare your carEnsure your lights are working. They should also be clean, together with your windows, windscreen and mirrors. Even small streaks can cause glare at night when you are driving.
Leave more spaceThe hazard perception element of your theory test will put you in good stead already, but when driving at night you should leave more space and keep your speed down in scenarios where they may be a risk you could miss something.
Limit distractionsSince your vision won’t be as clear, your reaction times won’t be either. It’s easier to get distracted but don’t let quiet roads create a false sense of security – make sure your phone is out of sight, turn down the radio and remind your supervising friend or family member that this is a lesson, not an excuse for a chinwag!
So there we have it, you’re all ready to start taking lessons at night, be careful on the roads!