16 Essential Tips for Safe Night Driving in London

Posted: 10-01-2024

Updated: 18-04-2024

London’s night drives can be a visually enchanting yet inherently challenging experience, demanding heightened attention and a keen focus on safety. As the sun sets, a different dynamic takes over the city, with its own set of intricacies and hazards. 

According to recent data from the UK Department for Transport, the rate of road accidents after dusk greatly surpasses prangs during daylight hours, underscoring the need for an acute awareness of safety measures when navigating London’s roads at night.  

What Challenges You Might Face While Driving the Roads at Night?

While navigating the roads at night, several challenges can arise that demand heightened awareness and caution. The three senses that are essential to driving performance are depth perception, colour identification, and peripheral vision. All of these are adversely affected by low light. This reduced visibility can obscure hazards such as pedestrians, cyclists, wildlife, and even other vehicles. 

Moreover, fatigue is one of the key issues that come with night-time driving and is crucial to combating the risk of drowsy driving accidents. The impact of other drivers’ headlights directed at you is known as headlight glare. According to research by NHTSA, there are two types of glares caused by headlights: discomfort glare and disability glare.  

This can be annoying and often painful. It may cause the drivers to abruptly slow down, avert their gaze from the road, or veer out of their lane.  

Against this backdrop, every driver, particularly delivery and van drivers, must comprehensively understand the essential night driving tips that can make your journeys safer and hassle-free. 

16 Essential Van Driving Safety Tips for Night

Now the question remains: how to drive safely at night? 

Our top driving tips, curated by the van hire experts at Edmonton Van Hire, can transform night driving in London from a potential challenge into a secure and confident journey. Would you like to speak to us directly? No worries – we’re just a call away. Call us on 0203 576 1060 or email info@edmontonvanhire.co.uk to discuss any van hire requirements in North London or to receive expert advice. 

1. Plan Your Route in Advance

So, meticulous route planning is your first line of defence, whether you are driving in a van or a car at night. Utilise navigation tools and apps to identify well-lit and maintained roads, avoiding poorly illuminated or unknown areas. When driving a rented van, especially in areas like Enfield, plan routes that are safe but can also accommodate larger vehicles. Familiarise yourself with alternative routes in case of unexpected road closures or detours, ensuring a smooth and stress-free journey. 

2. Check Vehicle Lights 

This is probably one of the most significant night-driving tips out there. Regularly inspect headlights, indicators, and brake lights to ensure optimal working conditions. 

For rented vans, conduct a thorough pre-drive check to avoid surprises on the road. You should only trust a reputable van hire company that maintains its fleet regularly and meticulously, thus taking all the stress away from you. 

Pro tip: Carry spare bulbs and fuses in the van’s toolkit for quick replacements if needed, providing a practical solution to potential light malfunctions. 

3. Optimise Van Load Distribution

Maintaining stability in a van, especially one with a long wheelbase or Luton variants, is critical for safe night driving. Properly distribute the load to prevent swaying and ensure responsive handling.  

For heavier loads, consider redistributing weight closer to the vehicle’s centre of gravity, enhancing overall stability and control. This adjustment improves overall stability and control of the van, reducing the risk of accidents, particularly during night driving when visibility may be limited. 

Implementing this van safety driving tip will reduce the likelihood of accidents while driving at night with heavy products or deliveries.  

4. Use High-quality Headlights

Investing in high-quality headlights significantly enhances visibility, a key factor in navigating London’s roads at night. Adjust headlights to avoid dazzling oncoming drivers, and consider upgrading to modern, brighter options. 

Pro tip: Clean headlights regularly to remove dirt and debris, maximising their effectiveness and reducing glare for a safer driving experience. If you’re renting a van, the van hire company should take care of this. However, there’s nothing wrong with having your own mini checklist for a quick self-inspection before choosing a van. Read our ultimate guide on the art of hassle-free van hire in North London for further help. 

5. Mind Your Speed

Adhering to speed limits is paramount for safe night driving. Maintain a speed slightly below the limit to allow for increased reaction time, especially in areas with complex road layouts or frequent turns.  

Driving slower will give you more time to recognise and respond to hazards and road conditions. By being clear about your intentions and providing other drivers plenty of time to react, you may make driving easier for them. 

6. Combat Glare Effectively

As mentioned, facing glare from oncoming vehicles can be disorienting and dangerous. When driving a rented van, shift your gaze towards the left edge of the road and use road markings as a guide during intense glare situations. 

Invest in anti-glare coatings for your eyewear to further reduce the impact of oncoming headlights. 

7. Clean Your Windscreen

A clean windscreen is essential for optimal visibility on roads at night. Regularly clean both the inside and outside surfaces to eliminate smudges and streaks and mitigate potential glare-inducing situations. 

Use a high-quality glass cleaner and microfibre cloth for a streak-free finish, ensuring clear visibility throughout your journey. 

8. Rake Regular Breaks

Long night drives can be physically and mentally demanding. According to a Sleep Research Centre study, driver fatigue may be the cause of up to 20% of accidents, which is nearly equal to the number of accidents caused by drunk driving.  

Recognise signs of drowsiness, such as yawning or heavy eyelids, and take breaks when needed. Stay hydrated by keeping water within easy reach and take regular breaks to remain alert and focused on the road. Consume light energy-boosting snacks to maintain concentration without causing drowsiness. 

9. NEVER Drink and Drive

On the topic of drunk driving, this may seem common sense, but deaths caused by drunk driving are skyrocketing every year.  

While it may seem harmless to hop on your van after a couple of pints and carry on, even the slightest bit of alcohol can impair your ability to drive safely. Do not take the risk – not for a moment. Instead, take a rotation system or stay put for the night.  

10. Be Wary of Wildlife

Wildlife can pose a significant hazard during night drives. Exercise caution, especially in areas where animals – dogs, foxes, badgers, etc – are likely to cross the road. 

Drive at a reduced speed in known wildlife zones and use high beams cautiously to detect animals from a distance without causing them distress. 

11: Watch Out for Pedestrians and Cyclists

Pedestrians and cyclists may be less visible at night, requiring heightened attention from drivers. When driving a van, always yield the right of way and exercise extra caution at crossings for safety during night driving. 

Keep a watchful eye on the sides of the road and use side mirrors effectively to detect pedestrians and cyclists in low-light conditions. 

12: Emergency Preparedness 

Carry an emergency kit in the van, including essentials such as a flashlight, first aid supplies, and contact details for breakdown services. 

Familiarise yourself with basic vehicle troubleshooting to address minor issues promptly, reducing downtime and enhancing overall safety on the road. 

13. Utilise Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)

Take advantage of the advanced driver assistance systems available in modern vans. Features such as lane departure warnings, adaptive cruise control, and collision avoidance systems can significantly enhance safety during night driving. 

Pro tip: Familiarise yourself with the specific ADAS features in your rented van and use them judiciously to augment your driving experience. Check with the van hire company; they will have experts to guide you on your ADAS requirements. With their guidance, you will be able to choose the right van for efficient night driving. 

14. Maintain A Safe Following Distance

Maintaining a safe following distance is crucial, especially during night drives. Keep a distance that allows for ample reaction time if the vehicle in front makes sudden manoeuvres or stops. 

Use the “three-second rule” to determine a safe following distance, which should be increased to at least four seconds in adverse weather or road conditions. 

15. Monitor Weather Conditions

Stay informed about the weather conditions before embarking on your night drive. Adverse weather, such as snow, rain, or fog, can significantly impact visibility and road traction. 

Check real-time weather updates and adjust your driving strategy, accordingly, including reducing speed and increasing following distances in challenging conditions. 

16. Familiarise Yourself with Van Dimensions

Understanding the dimensions of the rented van is crucial, especially for larger vehicles like Luton vans. Be aware of the height, width, and length to navigate through tight spaces and under low-clearance obstacles safely. 

Pro tip: Take note of the van’s dimensions and plan routes that accommodate its size, minimising the risk of collisions or getting stuck in confined areas. Consult with the van hire experts at the rental company. Ask them for their tips and guidance. They specialise in the local area and will be able to help with best practices for driving a specific van. At Edmonton Van Hire, our qualified professionals are there to guide you throughout the van hire process. 


Prioritising safety during night driving in London is the driver’s responsibility for your own safety and that of other road users. By following these 16 expert tips, especially from the perspective of driving a rented van, you can significantly enhance your safety and peace of mind on the road. Stay vigilant, be prepared, and make every journey a secure one. 

For well-maintained, quality, and ULEZ-compliant vans of assorted sizes and payload capacity, you can trust the team at Edmonton Van Hire. Moreover, if you have any questions like whether Luton is safe at night or any other van rental issues, we will help with our expert knowledge and wide range of vehicles. Rest assured, our vans are swift and efficient for use day and night on London roads. Contact us now to book your van.