Driving in the dark? Tips to stay safe

017 Feb 2024

Here are some ideas to make your night-time EV journeys safe and enjoyable

Driving at night can have its good points – there's generally less traffic about, which can be nice and relaxing. It can also bring a few challenges thanks to the limited visibility that comes with driving in the dark. The good news is, there are lots of things you (and your electric vehicle) can do to make those later drives comfortable and safe. Here’s how:

1. Regularly clean all glass on your EV

When your headlights, windows and mirrors are clean and streak free, your all-round visibility at night is better so you can see the road more clearly. If you wear glasses to drive, clean those too. Make it easy for yourself by keeping a glass cleaning spray and cloth in the car.

2. Make sure your headlights are working

And save yourself time by making a note of where to get replacement bulbs for when you need them.

3. Find out if your EV has adaptive or ambient lighting

Some EVs have different lighting systems to support night driving, and you can think of them as being either inside or outside the car. Let’s start with outside. EVs with adaptive lighting system can adjust their headlights and beam pattern according to the light conditions and presence of other vehicles – so, for example, the headlights will dip if an oncoming car is near, to avoid shining into the other driver’s face.

There may be other features available too, depending on the make and model of the electric car. An ambient lighting system, on the other hand, adjusts the colour and intensity of the lights inside the EV, such as its dashboard and footwell lights. Some studies suggest this may help increase a driver’s sense of orientation and well-being, and reduces eye-strain at night. To find out if you have either of these lighting systems check your manual or with your EV manufacturer.

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4. If possible, plan your breaks in advance

When you know there's a long drive at night coming up, find out where you can charge and rest before you set off. With that ticked off your to-do list, you can devote more concentration to the drive itself. For help with your planning, download the bp pulse app to see where our chargers are across the country.

5. When charging at night, think big

When you do stop to charge or even just stretch your legs, look for larger charging hubs. These are more likely to be well-lit at night and be near somewhere where you can grab a hot drink or snack to make the most of your break.

6. Factor in longer charging into your journey length

When the sun goes down, it gets colder. This is likely to reduce your EV’s battery range, and make charging slower than you might expect, regardless of the maximum speed stated on a public EV charger. Keep an eye on it and add in extra time for charging when you do need to stop, to help with your journey plans. This article we’ve written on maximising EV battery life in cold weather has some helpful tips and more explanation on why those colder nights may affect your battery and what you can do to reduce the impact on your trips.

7. Look out for yourself and for others

Take a moment to feel comfortable, alert, and prepared, and keep an eye out for pedestrians, cyclists, and other road users who may not be as visible as they are during the day.

8. Use those EV safety features

Many electric cars come with additional driving aids which may be useful at night, like lane keeping assistance and collision warning systems. These can be extra helpful when its dark, as they’ll support your visibility and general awareness.

For EV charging day or night, we’re here to help. Download the bp pulse app to see where you’ll find us. If a bit of familiarity is useful when you’re driving at night, don’t forget to subscribe and start saving your favourite charging sites, so you’ll know where we are when you need us next.

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