Lesson 15: How to Drive Safely at Night
Nearly every state forbids teens from driving during certain nighttime hours, but many also require teens at the permit stage to practice a certain number of hours at night. This balance is crucial to keeping new drivers safe – since driving at night is particularly dangerous for inexperienced teens – but it can be difficult for parents to manage. Here’s what you need to know about getting your teen the night hours he or she needs, while still staying safe.
The statistics tell us that teens are disproportionately killed in crashes at night, so whatever your state’s laws require, restrict your teen’s initial practice hours to the daytime. Your teen can get plenty of experience from the passenger seat, so take your teen with you in the car at night to get him or her used to the reduced visibility during these hours.
Once your teen is ready to practice driving at night, go slow. Start in the early evening, when there’s still some daylight left, and get your teen some experience driving with headlights. Review the vehicle’s manual with your teen to learn about the different light options, then have your teen flip between them while parked at night to see how they differ. Once on the road, point out how other drivers’ lights can impact your teen’s ability to see.
Practice: Though headlights are crucial to see at night, they can also impair the vision of other drivers. Practice having your teen flip from high beams to low beams when other drivers approach, then switch back after for better vision. You can also teach your teen to quickly flash the high beams if approaching drivers forget to make this switch themselves.