Nocturnal Focus – 5 Ways To Save Money Driving At Night


Before the government told us all that we had to work from home, I was driving 80 miles each day for work. And because the work hours were 8-5, that meant leaving home very early in the morning and not coming back till early evening. That in turn meant that driving in natural light was a rare privilege! Driving in reduced light brings its own challenges and there are a few tips I’ve picked up over the many hundreds of miles that I believe will help others who also may need to commute long distance by car. Since public transport is now a less attractive option for many, the car’s importance has increased. Which is how things should be. Let’s delve deeper into this nocturnal focus.

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A good set of lights can be life-saving. Useful if our focus is nocturnal
A good set of lights can be life-saving.

First, we need to set the correct ambience. This is not about flowers and chocolates, but rather making sure that we create an environment where we can stay alert (do not laugh). This is reasonably important when behind the wheel. Having too warm a temperature may be great for passengers. But if we as drivers get too comfortable, we may start to lose concentration. We may even momentarily fall asleep, which is clearly very dangerous. Set the temperature too cold, and we may start shivering and lose control of the car. Again, not ideal. After trying out lots of different ambient settings, I went for the lowest one where I wasn’t uncomfortable. It seemed to work: As far as I’m aware, I’m still alive at the time of writing.

Another aspect is the music that we play, for much the same reasons as the ambient temperature. Listening to a lullaby is not going to keep us at maximum concentration, which could increase the chances of an accident. We could also upset the government with our lack of alertness, although that’s for another time. The secret here is to find something on the radio that’s not annoying but not relaxing. Thus we arrive at the destination in a good mood, but not so hyperactive that we have used a boatload of fuel getting there.

A decent set of headlights really can make all the difference, especially when we are driving at night rather than just in the dark. A dark environment when we’re already tired is not a good combination for staying awake and out of hedges or trees. I personally changed all the light bulbs on my focus to aftermarket xenon effect ones. These are brighter than standard, inexpensive and emit a whiter lighter causing less strain on the eyes. You don’t want to have to strain when you’re tired.

Wind Noise
Wind noise is a tried and tested way of staying alert (I can’t think of another phrase). Cars are so well engineered these days that even at speed, one barely has to raise their voice. Tyre makers tend to focus slightly more on fuel economy, at least for the everyday cars that most buy. This means the tyres resist rolling less, which sometimes means they are quieter. Getting the window down will up the noise levels and get some cool air into the car. I tend to do this momentarily, once I’m off the motorway. A short blast of cold air does wonders for one’s alertness. Having a wind resistant hairstyle (or just not a lot of hair) makes this an option on the way to work too. Aren’t I helpful?

My last experience of getting my head together for long journeys was to have a drink before setting off. Not an alcoholic one, but one that keeps us awake. Too many drinks brings its own issues, especially as Ford forgot to fit the Focus with an onboard toilet. This, I think you’ll agree, is disgraceful. I’m not sure how they’re still operating a profitable business. A quick coffee, or some lemon water will keep us awake in our quest to beat the traffic.

This has been a life saver. And an inconvenience if there are no toilets..
This has been a life saver. And an inconvenience if there are no toilets..

I hope this nocturnal focus has been useful. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and honestly for a lot of us isn’t a big worry. But we still may shop at night, and return from visiting friends and family at dusk. For some, night driving is a necessity rather than a choice, even though the lack of traffic can make it more fun and efficient. These tips will ultimately save us money, keep us safe and well. Feel free to join the family and comment below with your own advice and tips. Thanks for reading!

What are your thoughts?