The first and somewhat obvious point to remember is that when driving on a road that has no street lighting you will only be able to see what your headlights allow you to see. To compensate for this it is advisable to lower your speed and refrain from driving at a speed where you would be unable to stop within the distance your headlights show to be clear.
Car lights have two functions:
1) They allow you to see at night
2) They allow other drivers and pedestrians to see you.
Whenever light levels fall you should switch your car lights on. Remember you are not obliged to wait until it is dark or until street lights come on. If your car is a dull colour then you should always switch your lights on before dusk.
When night driving on unlit roads and when no other traffic is visible ahead of you you should switch your headlights on to full beam. You must dip your headlights as soon as you see another road user, vehicle, pedestrian or cyclist approaching. If you fail to dip your headlights then you will dazzle the driver ahead. As soon as the other road user has passed revert back to full beam.
Dazzle is dangerous because it can momentarily blind the oncoming road user. Dazzle doesn't only occur because a driver fails to put their headlights on dip. Driving passed a long stream of traffic all with dipped headlights can often cause a dazzling effect. Dirty windscreen can also cause a dazzling effect.
To avoid being dazzled:
1) Never stare at oncoming headlights. Look slightly to the left-hand side of the road. Slow down and, if you need to, stop if you cannot see.
2) Make sure your windscreen is clean. A clean windscreen will reduce dazzle.
3) Try and anticipate when your vision may be reduced by oncoming headlights.
4) Headlights reflected in a rear view mirror can cause dazzle. If this happens then adjust the mirror so that the dazzle is reduced.
5) If an oncoming vehicle fails to put their headlights in dip then avoid glare by watching the right edge of the road and using it as a steering guide.
6) Given the dangers of nighttime driving it is always a good idea for la earner driver to ask their driving school for nighttime tuition.
Whilst driving at night if you need to perform an overtaking manouevre then it is vital you exercise caution. Always beware of hidden bends and dips in the road. These can obscure oncoming traffic. Switch your headlights to full beam as soon as you've driven past the car you are overtaking. If a driver overtakes you then assist them by keeping your headlights on full beam while they prepare to overtake you and dip them as the vehicle pulls level with you.
To keep yourself safe at night it is important to keep your car lights clean and well maintained. Light covers can quickly become covered in grime especially during the winter when you'll need your lights most. When this happens it will be harder for you to see the road and harder for other road users to see you.
With the extra hazards caused by driving at night it is often wise for learner drivers to ask their driving schools to provide extra nighttime lessons.