Lesson 14: Driving at Night - National Safety Council

Lesson 14: Driving at Night

Experienced drivers may not see much of a difference between driving during the day versus at night. For teens, however, it’s a different story. Nearly every risk facing inexperienced drivers is multiplied in the dark, when it’s more difficult to see and react to road hazards. Here’s how you should approach night driving with your teen. 

Set the Tone

Though many states require teens to get practice driving at night, it shouldn’t be the first lesson on your schedule. Driving at night really is dangerous for teens, so talk this through and make sure your teen understands that it’s off the table for now. That doesn’t mean you can’t drive at night with your teen in the car, of course, so take advantage of those opportunities whenever possible. 

Night Driving Dangers

One of the biggest issues with driving at night is reduced visibility: you simply can’t see everything around you the way you can during the day. This is a major problem for teen drivers who don’t have much experience reacting to hazards. When you consider additional risks, like distracted drivers and speeding, it makes the problem even worse. 

Practice: To help your teen understand the problem of reduced visibility, drive somewhere familiar with your teen in the middle of the day. Have your teen identify something far away and point out upcoming hazards like potholes. Then, return to this same spot with your teen at night and have him or her do the same. Once your teen sees how difficult it is to spot potholes or far-off landmarks, it will reinforce how truly different it is driving at night.

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