Thousands of young motorists failing to practise driving in the dark

Up to 100,000 driving test candidates may be taking their test each year without having practised in the dark, according to new details from the DVSA.

Despite 35 per cent of all road accidents involving young drivers occurring after dark, many drivers are taking their tests having had no previous experience of driving at night.

In fact, 22 per cent of the 17,000 learner and newly qualified drivers surveyed by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) said that they had driven in the dark for less than two hours prior to taking their test, while 17.5 per cent of drivers had no experience whatsoever of driving in the dark prior to undertaking their test.

Some 610,000 learner drivers aged 17 to 24 took their driving test between October 2018 and October 2019, which suggests that as many as 106,000 of those are taking their driving test without having practised in the dark.

To help drive down the number of incidents involving young drivers at night, the DVSA is calling on learners to take driving lessons in the dark, and also to practice driving at night with parents or other accompanying drivers.

Mark Winn, DVSA chief driving examiner, said: "DVSA's priority is to help everyone through a lifetime of safe driving.

"It's essential that all learners gain experience of driving in the dark, whether with their driving instructor or through private practice.

"Spotting hazards in reduced visibility is a skill built on experience. The more time a learner spends practising in different conditions, the better prepared they will be for driving safely on their own."

The DVSA has also revealed some of its top tips for driving in the dark:

  • Watch your speed. You can't see as far ahead when driving at night. Hazards and vulnerable road users may be harder to spot.
  • Make sure you can stop well within the distance you can see to be clear
  • Only overtake if you can see the road will remain clear until you've finished overtaking
  • Keep your windscreen clean and clear
  • Use full beam on unlit roads, but dip your headlights early enough to avoid dazzling oncoming drivers
  • Driving when tired greatly increases your risk of collision. Do not begin a journey if you are tired.


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