Illuminate the Night: A Londoner’s Guide to Safe Driving at Night. How to use your headlights properly, the signs of their malfunction

Getting around London by car can be more than comfortable in itself. The fact is that the city authorities always listen to the residents of the city, which is why the city is full of navigation tips (i.e. you are unlikely to get lost even at night). You will be warned in advance about certain repair works, crowds of people and other things that make traffic difficult. 

The local authorities do everything to save the time of its residents and guests. This is primarily due to the desire to create a modern and comfortable city, which brings profit to the treasury. However, it is worth considering that the traffic rules in the country, and specifically in London, have their own peculiarities. It is also worth paying close attention to narrow sections of the road, properly understand how to use lighting equipment. In addition, parking can be a problem in big cities, especially in London, where it is very expensive.

The unique challenges of driving by night London

Any city (especially a tourist city like London) has its own peculiarities. For example, the M25 ring motorway even the Brits themselves call it a car park, for at certain times it is incredibly congested with car traffic. We are talking about working Monday mornings and, of course, the partying Friday evenings. In addition, there are points that deal with lighting behaviours. After all, it is incredibly important when the weather turns bad in the city, and with it the visibility on the road becomes more difficult. In this matter, it is worth adhering to a few rules, namely:

  • Switch on the lighting equipment on a regular basis. Studies show that drivers who always drive with their headlights on reduce the risk of accidents by as much as ten per cent.
  • Check that everything is working correctly, that all bulbs are in good working order and that the light has not faded from the natural wear and tear of the headlights. 
  • Also take into account the fact that the headlights must work together, thus focusing the light on the road ahead. This way the illuminated area will allow you to spot objects hidden in the dark in good time. This is especially true on narrow and poorly lit sections of London, where there is no possibility to manoeuvre, including from other cars.

London’s traffic rules and its peculiarities

A few important things to remember when travelling to London:

  1. The very first thing you should remember is the left-hand traffic. It takes some getting used to. 
  2. Learn the language and signs. The fact is that you will encounter A-road, B-road, RTA and other things that can be confusing. It’s especially important to know all of this before you go riding around a city at night in bad weather, when traffic control is already difficult. 
  3. Remember, give way to cars that are on your right, not your left.
  4. If your car is from a right-hand drive country, make the necessary adjustments to correct your headlights so as not to blind other drivers.
  5. Even if you are on holiday, remember that you should only drive sober. 
  6. If you are stopped by the police, you should just sit back and wait for further instructions from the officer.
  7. Overtaking on the outside of the road is not illegal, but it is not recommended.
  8. Do not exceed the speed limit, as the roads of the city are dotted with surveillance cameras.

A few words about the etiquette of headlamp use

Remember that the usual flashing of headlights in the UK traffic rules is used to detect another road user. That is, such a sign, absolutely does not mean that the neighbouring car lets you down. If you want to thank the driver for letting you pass, you can, for example, raise your hand.

Additional information:

How to choose car headlights –

Mistakes at using headlights can create accidents –

What bulbs to choose for headlights –

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