Overcoming fears of driving in the dark

When learning to drive, there are many different factors that can alter your confidence. A common one that we find occurring around this time of year is driving in the dark. If you experience this fear, there is nothing to be ashamed of and, by working together with your driving instructor, you will be able to overcome it. Here are a few tips that have proven successful to other learners that are nervous of driving in the dark.

Practice on your usual route

When driving in the dark, you will need to take additional care in looking for road signs. On new roads, this is a common way of generating additional levels of stress or worry. By driving your usual daytime routes in the dark, you will be able to locate road signs with less distraction or complications, allowing you to become more relaxed with operating the vehicle in low light.

Lower your speed

You may be confident when driving in daylight and therefore, your speed may be up to 30mph. However, when driving in the dark, there is no rule to say that you must travel at the same speed as when you are comfortable with your surroundings. Lower your speed to one where you feel you have full control of the vehicle whilst still able to locate road signs and follow the rules of the road. Be careful not to drive too slowly however, as this can be dangerous for other road users.

Avoid rush hours

There is nothing more intimidating than travelling on the road during busy times. Drivers confident with their route can often be depicted as patronising, resulting in you losing focus and decreasing in confidence. As the winter nights draw in, morning and evening rush hours can occur in the darker periods. To ensure that you aren’t caught in the middle of these peak times, arrange for your driving lessons to be held out of the hours of 6:30am – 9am and 5pm – 7pm.

Additional attention

It may not take long until you feel relaxed operating a vehicle in the dark. It is important that, when you do experience this change in attitude, you don’t lose focus on the road and your surroundings. You must always pay particular attention to pavements, crossings and junctions in lower lights as pedestrians, cyclists and even some vehicles may be hard to spot. Although your confidence will heighten, the visibility of other road users may not.

Relaxation techniques

A final simple but ever-helpful tip is to practice relaxation techniques both before and whilst driving in darker hours. Deep breathing, playing quiet and calm music through the vehicles radio or AUX system or providing yourself with positive statements and praises are proven to relax any nerves and allow you to feel positive about your drive.

Here at Lanes School of Driving, we have been assisting learner drivers for over 100 years in the best ways to achieve a pass first time. To arrange a lesson with one of our qualified instructors, or for any further information on how we can help you, give a member of our helpful Lanes School of Driving team a call on 020 8166 5678.