11 Life Lessons Driving In The Dark

Driving after dark is something I’m not particularly fond of.

Deer, moose, coyotes, other critters and the rare escaped bovine are just that much harder to see.

Sometimes it’s unavoidable, especially at this time of winter when the skies darken shortly after 5:00pm.


After running errands in town Friday, I figured there was enough time for a quick side trip to drop something off on the way home.

Unloading didn’t take long, but the yakking to catch up afterwards lasted another half hour.

Finally heading for home, the sky was now filled with the muted light of post sunset.

Darkness was going to fall at some point on the way.


On the upside, the highway wasn’t totally unfamiliar.

Over the past several months I’d driven this route a number of times during the day.

On the downside, there were two lengthy sections of curves I had yet to navigate in the dark.


Deep breath.

I can do this.

A welcome the weekend glass of wine awaits my return.


The ride home was mostly uneventful.

Grumbled at the oncoming drivers who didn’t turn off their high beams.

Jumped slightly coming upon a steep hill spotted with what turned out to be black cattle.

Puzzled over a concentration of lights in the distance where there was no town.

Then nearly missed a curve trying to reconcile I could be this far away yet the village’s streetlights could be so close straight ahead.

With eyes clearly focused on the road ahead, analogies for life from this short half hour trip began popping to mind.


Motorcycle parked in the dark with headlight on.


11 Night Driving Lessons To Live By


Light shining in light is more difficult to detect. Being in the midst of darkness allows you to see Light you might not otherwise.


The corollary then is tunnels should be dark to make the light at the end easier to see.


Even when the end appears to be within reach a short distance away, the road from here to there can be filled with ups and downs and a few curves.


Getting caught up in being at the end before you’re there can cause you to miss what’s appearing now, and key cues at that.


Going too fast and over-driving what you can see means perpetually being uncomfortable trying to control unknowns. Slowing down to better manage current conditions can be a very good thing.


Keep focusing on what’s in front of you with a destination in mind and you’ll get there.


Being caught up in the bright lights of others isn’t always best for us, especially when they’re traveling in a different direction.


Traveling with others all heading the same direction makes the road ahead easier to see.


For as much as you can see a lot more with high beams, you still can’t see everything. There will always be unknowns to deal with in getting where you want to go.


Driving in full light and total darkness are different experiences. The road, however, remains the same. Being able to see clearly doesn’t means the road will have less curves or ups and downs.


The more you keep going despite the darkness, the more comfortable and adept you become at not being able to see everything.



Have any of your driving experiences highlighted a Life lesson to live by?


feel free to share

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Lorraine Watson - on rustic porch

chief nudging officer


Crazy for cats and potatoes, Lorraine's insatiable curiosity of Life leads her to question, explore and push beyond the box. A self-professed "left-brained creative big picture" type, she has an intuitive knack for seeing beyond and beneath first appearances while at the same time nerding out on the details. Most of all she sees and holds others in their highest until they can see it for themselves.


  1. Pat on December 1, 2015 at 8:04 am

    Insightful and straightforward as ever Lorraine!

    I could especially relate to this passage:
    Even when the end appears to be within reach a short distance away, the road from here to there can be filled with ups and downs and a few curves.

    So to put it in “driving” terms…You’ve got to keep on truckin’ on!

    • Lorraine on December 3, 2015 at 10:54 am

      Thanks Pat. The curves and hills do allow one to keep focused. Definitely keep truckin on!

  2. Carrie Ann Lahain on December 1, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Your posts always hit so close to home. I’m a novice at driving in both the literal and the figurative sense. So far, I’ve avoided taking the car out at night. Avoiding the “dark” of the life path ahead of me hasn’t been as easy. I am so easily overwhelmed and frightened. I need to remind myself to slow down, breathe, and take the obstacles (curves) as they present themselves. Too often, I try to think ahead (they call it being “proactive”) and end up causing myself more trouble and stress than necessary. This is counter to what most people counsel about “being prepared” and “thinking ahead.” It’s good advice, but only to a point. You have to recognize that, most often, you don’t get to dictate the speed limit!

    I plan to tackle that literal night driving in the near future. I’m going to purposely take the car out at night. Even if it is just around the block and through the neighborhood. My hope is that, even if I choose to drive mostly during the day, I won’t fall to pieces if I get caught away from home after dark.

    • Lorraine on December 3, 2015 at 11:12 am

      I think people forget speed limits are suggested maximums, not minimums or musts. Driving for the conditions is a far better approach for ensuring destinations are reached. Night driving is a skill unto itself and takes ongoing practice to maintain. Your one step at a time approach is fantastic.

      Mentioning “being prepared” brought to mind a new twist on the phrase. Instead of having to figure out all the things needed doing beforehand in order to handle every situation, what if “being prepared” was truly about being. Being confident, resilient and flexible in knowing we’ll handle somehow what comes up. Then we don’t have to know everything about what there’s no way to know.

      You also reminded me of Chris Hadfield’s (former space station commander) approach to handling situations that really struck a chord and wrote about in Face Failure And Sweat The Small Stuff

      Looking forward to hearing about your adventures with night driving!

  3. Dawn Downey on December 2, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    I like Carrie’s plan to purposely take the car out at night. But i have to admit, I’ve been trying to avoid driving at night completely. I really can’t see at night and if I can’t see, I shouldn’t be on the road. Sometimes I feel guilty about being a wimp. There was a time when it didn’t bother me. I used to be an admissions person for a university. And one night I walked out of a rural high school after our event ended, and was surprised at how dark it was. The whole town was closed. Pitch black. But after I found me way to the interstate, I was spellbound. Crystal clear night, a million stars! I opened my sunroof and turned on classical music and it was the most magical drive. I loved it. And now I marvel at that woman. In the middle of nowhere, alone at night, and happy. Was that even me???

    • Lorraine on December 3, 2015 at 11:27 am

      I most definitely believe that was you on that magical night navigating your way through the dark. She’s the same woman now standing up on open mic night and taking a not so typical path to getting her writing into the world.

      My fondest memories of night driving was the stretch between two towns in the winter under a full moon magically glowing off the snow. A bit of cheating I suppose on it not being as dark.

      As an aside, one tip I use for night driving I learned from an optometrist – roll back the shoulders, deep breaths and relax your eyes. Tension, shallow breathing and straining to see all make seeing worse.

  4. Lorraine on December 3, 2015 at 11:31 am

    #12 – Shiny lights ahead are a place we could end up, but not necessarily where we are meant to be. Discernment is still needed to decide where we belong and/or what we truly desire.

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