New figures from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) reveal that not enough learners are practising driving in the dark.
For instance, 17.5% of new motorists say they never experienced driving at night before they took their test.
Also, 22% said they’d only driven in the dark for less than two hours before taking the test.
It means that there could be up to 100,000 new motorists heading out on to the road with no experience whatsoever of the many challenges associated with driving in dark.
Why zero night driving experience is dangerous
A survey by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents revealed that 40% of all collisions happen when it’s dark, and can lead to serious injury or death.
The best way to stay safe when driving at night is simple – practise, practise, practise.
Frustratingly, learners have actually expressed an interest in night driving according to a 2019 Marmalade Insurance survey.
It revealed 58% of pupils want nighttime driving to be incorporated into driving lessons.
Reasons why learners aren’t driving at night
The DVSA states there were multiple reasons given by driving instructors:
- My pupils learn in summer (64%)
- My pupils struggle to do early or late (59%)
- I struggle to do early or late (31%).
The DVSA also contacted a number of learners about the issue and were told:
“I don’t think it’s that big of an issue to be honest. Even if it’s dark, the streets are well lit and I’ve got my headlights anyway, so…”
“Ideally, I could do with more of course… at the end of the day when I do my actual test it won’t be in the dark, it will be in the morning.”
Theory Test Pro’s tips for ‘driving in the dark’ practice
- While it may be difficult to line up a lesson in the summer, the winter months are ideal because of the nights drawing in much earlier – so take advantage!
- Aim to get more than two hours of lessons driving in the dark to build confidence and experience alongside your instructor who can give advice and identify any bad habits.
- Consider asking an experienced driver to head out with you for a private practice session if your instructor is not available.
- Mark down any private practice in the DVSA’s ‘Record of private driving practice’ form so you can keep track of driving in all challenging conditions (darkness, rain, country roads, etc.), and can easily share with your instructor to see if there are any weak areas you should focus on.
- Don’t view learning to drive simply as a means to pass your test; you’re actually putting all that hard work in now to ensure you are safe on the road once you have passed the test.
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