Car Road Trip

13 Tips For Driving Long Distances At Night

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Last Updated on August 31, 2022 by Rose Morah

Planning to drive long distances at night? 

In this article, we have listed several tips for driving long distances at night, and how to prepare for a long drive at night.

Additionally, if you are normally anxious to drive at night, especially on long road trips, then this article will be of great value to you!

Personally, I have been on countless long road trips before where I have had to drive at night on most of the trips due to different reasons. 

This has given me tremendous experience. Therefore, this article is based on what I have learned over the year of long-distance night trips as well as tips I’ve gained from other travelers.

Here is what we are going to cover in this article:

  • How to see better at night when driving.
  • How to prepare for a long drive at night.
  • How to drive at night for beginners

But before that, the following are my observations over the years of driving at night vs day:

Driving at nightDriving during the day
1. There is less traffic.More traffic.
2. There are fewer trucks on the road.
This is mostly if you are from a location where there are regulations that limit the hours that the truck drivers should be driving.
More trucks on the road.
3.Less crazy drivers driving on the highways.More crazy drivers during the day.
4. More drunkards during the night.

You are more likely to come across pedestrians who are drunk walking along the streets.

This means that you need to be alert.
Fewer drunkards during the day.
5. More animals on the road at night, depending on your location.Fewer animals on the road.

Tips for driving long distances at night

1. Get night driving glasses

I highly recommend getting night driving glasses if you struggle to see well when driving at night.

Night-driving glasses enhance night vision and provide a better driving experience.

Whenever I am driving long distances at night, I normally wear night driving glasses because they help improve visibility and reduce headlight glare. At the end of a long drive, my eyes will still be feeling fresh since I don’t get to strain that much.

I’d only recommend it to people whose eyesight worsens when it’s dark, for their safety when driving at night.

2. Be aware of the place you are driving at night

If you will be going on a long road trip to an unfamiliar location, I highly recommend you be more familiar with the location first before you start the trip.

This will help prepare you mentally and you will know how to handle certain situations when driving at night.

This is because some locations will have bad roads, wild animals walking at night, too many drunkards, and weird things happening at night.

For example:

Some years back when I was driving over the border of New Mexico at night, I had one of the strangest driving experiences.

There were so many drunk people on the road, the roads were hilly and curvy, and the cops were so intense. They were tailing me for miles, more than 3 times that night. To add to that, the speed limit was even the weirdest, it felt like a speed trap.

When I got back home after that experience, I went online to see if others had the same experience. Apparently, my experience was far from worse. Other people have had even worse experiences on that road. 

If I had seen other people’s experiences before my trip then I would have prepared myself mentally.

Take Away
Be aware of the road conditions and the location in general before you go driving at night.

3. Choose the best time to drive at night

If you want to drive at night but you are worried about the madness that happens at night, then I recommend picking your night driving hours strategically.

For instance, if you will be driving at a location that is known to have many drunkards or wild animals walking at night, you could start driving at 3 am or 4 a.m. 

I discovered that there are very few drunkards around 4 am, and the visibility increases as you drive. Additionally, I don’t get into traffic when I’m driving during that time.

I also avoid driving in some locations when it’s almost midnight or right after midnight because that’s when there are many strange and weird things happening on the road.  

4. Get good headlights

For a better driving experience when driving at night, I recommend investing in good headlights.

Personally, I find LED headlights great when I’m driving at night. 

I switched to LED headlights after a friend recommended them and the difference was remarkable!

You may also like:

28 Best and Must-have Road Trip Car Accessories.

10 Best Road Trip Planner Apps/Websites.

5. Aim and align your headlights correctly

You might have good headlights but if they are not positioned properly, this may still affect your driving experience at night. 

When they are properly adjusted, this ensures that you have good light coverage and don’t blind others.

NOTE: They should not be too low or too high. 

You could also go through online videos or this article to learn how to properly aim your headlights. 

Other headlight tips:

  • Turn off your high beam when you are approaching traffic. High beams are great when you are driving on dark roads, with very low visibility, and in rural areas.
  • Low beams are usually best for oncoming traffic or residential speeds, and when driving in lit areas.
  • Fog lights are better when driving in bad weather, especially in heavy rain. They provide better visibility than high and low beams.
  • When driving, keep the cabin lights dim. Bright cabin lights may reduce your vision or impair your ability to drive safely at night. 

This is because you may not clearly see the objects outside the car compared to when you are driving with cabin lights turned off or dim.

See also: Best Driving Weather Apps To Check Road Conditions on Your Trip.

6. Get a big elevated vehicle

If it is usually hard for you to drive at night because of the bright blinding headlights from other drivers, I’d recommend getting a bigger vehicle that is a bit lifted.

This way most of the other cars’ headlights will be below your field of vision, thus not affecting you.

Personally, whenever I am renting a car, I normally go for a bigger car that is elevated when I know I will be driving at night.

But when you are driving the vehicle at night, remember to correctly adjust your headlights so that other drivers can also have a good driving experience.

See also: Is 4Runner Comfortable For A Long Road Trip?

7. Try not to look at the lights directly

When driving at night always, try not to focus on the oncoming lights. Or rather, don’t look at the light directly!

Additionally, you could give flashing signals to oncoming cars that have very blinding headlights.

NOTE: There’s also nothing wrong with slowing down a little bit when you can’t see clearly.

8. Make sure your windscreen and wipers are clean

Having a clean windscreen and wipers that are not worn out gives you better visibility when driving at night.

I’d also recommend getting glass cleaning wipes to clean the windscreen if know you will be driving for long distances at night.

9. Take turn to drive

If it is your first time driving long distances at night, then I highly recommend that you drive in shifts.

When you switch drivers at least every after 2 to 3 hours, this makes driving long distances much easier because as the other person drives, you get to rest or take a nap.

10. Look for entertainment

Entertainment helps you stay awake when driving long distances during the night. 

Your entertainment could be listening to stand-up comedy, singing along to your favorite music playlist, and so on.

Be sure to check out our article on How To Entertain and Keep Yourself Busy On A Long Car Ride.

See also: How To Plan A Solo Road Trip.

11. Have a clear mind

Having a clear mind helps keep you focused when driving at night because you are able to see what is coming into your field of view and act accordingly.

For instance, sharp turns, pedestrians, wild animals, and e.t.c.

12. Don’t eat too much

Avoid eating too much when you are driving on long road trips at night.

Digestion uses energy and driving on a full stomach will make you feel tired so fast and you might start feeling sleepy as a result.

13. Eat snacks that help keep you awake

There are various healthy snacks that can help you stay awake when driving for long distances. 

Be sure to check out these 5 Healthy Non-refrigerated Road Trip Snacks That Keep You Awake.

Sometimes, depending on your situation or career, it may be unavoidable to drive long distances at night. However, try not to drive when you are tired. And if you are feeling sleepy, don’t try to brave it out. 

Hey, I’m Rose. I’m passionate about electric cars and clean energy. My adventurous spirit and journalistic pursuits make each day fascinating and far greater. I consider traveling not just about the grandeur moments, but the little elements that transform the whole experience.