No, it’s not illegal to drive with interior lights on.
Many people seem to believe that you can get into serious trouble if you turn on your interior lights for even a split second while driving in the dark. It’s hard to say where this urban myth originated, for there is nothing in the Highway Code to suggest that you shouldn’t switch your interior lights on while driving at night.
The Highway Code does warn against distracting other drivers by shining lights through your back window. It also says that the driver must have a clear view of the road ahead of them at all times, with no distractions. But beyond this, there’s nothing stopping you from turning on your interior lights while you drive.
However, even if it is legal to drive with an interior light on, it might not be the best idea.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Drive With Your Interior Lights On
Though it’s not illegal to drive with your interior lights on, it’s still something you should avoid doing unless you absolutely need to. The problem is that an interior light can be distracting.
When it’s dark outside your interior light can cause reflections to appear on your car’s windows. These may make it difficult for you to see the road ahead of you, and may prove distracting and might make it more likely you’ll be involved in an accident.
Can I Be Pulled Over for Driving With Interior Lights On?
Police sometimes pull people over for driving with their interior lights on at night because of the reflections they cause which can make it difficult to see the road. This might be where the urban myth came from that it’s against the law.
But if the police pull you over for this, it’s very unlikely that they’ll charge you with any motoring offences. Most likely they’ll simply warn you of the risks and suggest you turn the lights off.
How To Stay Safe While Driving in the Dark
There are a few other things you can do to improve your visibility at night:
- Always make sure your windscreen’s as clean as possible. Also keep your car’s headlight’s clean, and fix any lights that need fixing as soon as possible.
- If you’re using a device for navigation, set it to “dark mode” to reduce the glare.
- Some cars let you adjust your dashboard lights to further reduce glare.
- If you’re travelling with any passengers, ask them to avoid using their smartphones or tablets while you drive. And if they must use them, ask them to reduce the brightness, or to set them to “dark mode”.
We have an essential guide to driving in the dark. It contains some crucial checks you should make before you set out, and a few things you should keep in mind throughout your journey.
Driving in the Dark for New Drivers
Driving in the dark is one of the key skills you’ll start to develop as a new driver. Often, driving lessons are done in the day time, so you might have limited experience of driving in the dark. At Go Girl, we specialise in insurance for new drivers. Find out more about what we cover and how we can help.