Up to 100,000 new drivers who took their practical driving test between October 2018 and October 2019 have never driven in the dark.
According to new data from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), 17.5% of learner and young drivers have never driven in the dark and a further 22% have less than two hours’ experience driving at night.
The Government body surveyed 17,000 learner and young drivers aged between 17 and 24.
Although there is no requirement for new drivers to gain driving experience in the dark to pass their test, a concerning 35% of accidents involving a young driver occur at night.
The figures support AX’s own analysis which found the winter months see a 7.45% spike in road accidents, partly due to reduced daylight hours.
“These latest findings highlight an important issue facing young drivers. Reduced visibility, tiredness and being dazzled by headlights are just some of the additional challenges encountered by inexperienced drivers at night."
Scott Hamilton-Cooper, Sales and Operations Director at AX
“Our data shows accident rates are highest during the evening commute between 16:00 and 18:00 and this is exacerbated during the winter months when it’s dark during these hours. Gaining driving experience at night before passing a practical test is the best way to safely reduce the chances of being in an accident after the sun has set.”
The DVSA’s top tips for driving in the dark include watching your speed, taking extra caution when overtaking, keeping windscreens clean and clear, dipping headlights early to avoid dazzling and not starting a journey if you feel tired.
It also advises all learner drivers to take some lessons in the dark as well as practice night driving with a supervising adult in their own car.