Day or Night Driving? - When to Drive with Uber/Lyft

(Harry) #1

An interesting question that arises many times is whether it is better to drive at day or night. Since driving is a personal perception issue, this is a hard question to answer. So we will look at it from a technical perspective only and let the reader decide which one he prefers.

The experienced drivers already worked out through a lot of trial and error how they prefer to work. Work hours are also based on the driver's other commitments and sometimes cannot be chosen. For full-time drivers or drivers without pre-commitments, the choice comes down to crowd preference as well as money making choices.

When is it more profitable?

Most experienced drivers have found that driving at night, especially on weekends due to the bar scene. The rides are usually quicker, and you get more per hour, but the downside is the passenger or passengers you have to transport.If you are ready for a lot of cleaning and disinfection, then the night is perfect. At least you don't have to sit in traffic for hours. Let's take a closer look at both periods, uptime and downtime issues:

Day Time Downside

Most days start with a bang and end with a whimper. Uber pool driving early in the morning has a lot of issues, while it does pay better rates now, it is still problematic, and some people prefer driving drunks at night then driving pool rides during the morning hours. After 10 am the city goes quiet, you get fewer rides and usually sit about till 3 pm waiting for the next pool ride or surge. There is a lot of traffic, and some cities it is worse than others, and since you make much less per minute than per mile, the trade-off is suffering fewer rides for longer lapses in time and a higher chance of being involved in an accident.

Day Time Upside

Airport rides are always a good ride to take, although they do spread out during the day and many can be early morning, if you live in a big city, the chances are you will have flights all times of day and night. Now we get back to the Uber pool ride again. If the city isn't in gridlock and you can manage to pull off a pool ride in normal time, then you could end up getting more than 20 rides out of a pool ride. Sometimes reaching 75 to 120 rides which are the upside of pool riding.

Night Time Downside

The only downside in night time driving is the passengers you meet. Sometimes you will go through a night drive with many uneventful rides, and sometimes you get that one unruly character or messy passenger that keeps you busy for hours. (Cleaning or dealing with psychotherapy).

Night Time Upside

There is less traffic and usually never any gridlock. You get plenty of rides around bars, and the airport rides increase during midnight and early morning hours. In general, if you are willing to forgo any drunk passenger issues, this is a better time to drive.


There is no evidence that day or night tip more or less. Usually, the night crowd being so happy and content in their alcohol haze tend to tip nicely. So the bottom line is that tips are also better at night.

Interesting and Enjoyable

Both periods supply their fair share of passenger types. Pool rides give you many in one go; night gives you incoherent ones, day gives you families, business people, students. Everyone is doing something, going somewhere or coming from an interesting place and are coherent. I would say that day trips can be more interesting than night trips, but night trips are more enjoyable than day ones, so it's a draw on this one.


This also swings both ways, but usually, the Pool rides are the problem here and if you do many pools rides a day then night time wins hands down. If you take a lot of drunks, you might have the same problem since they do tend to under-rate. So if you do few pool rides, then daytime wins hands down.


There is no competition here; safety is a function of driver awareness, other drivers awareness, and visibility. Daytime drivers, while there are more of them, are usually more awake and aware. Night time drivers other than yourself include some very tired and some drunk people. So while there is less traffic at night time, the actual cars can be more volatile.

Here is a list of safety rules for night driving:

  • Make sure your lights are all clean and working.
  • Make sure your windows are all clean inside and out.
  • Make sure your headlights are aligned properly.
  • Never drive when tired, fatigued or under the influence of medicine or alcohol.
  • Never smoke when driving.
  • Turn on your headlights in the evening, even if it's not dark, the minute the sun is setting, and you get those long shadows, that is when you turn on your headlights.
  • At night it's better to make more distance between you and the car in front.
  • Don't high beam unless the road is empty.
  • If high beams are blinding you, just look to the side of the window to avoid the glare. (Flash yours on and off too, this helps notify the other driver.)
  • If you feel tired, stop. If you have a passenger, stop at a gas station, drink coffee or cold water and then continue to the destination. After drop off, close the app and go home.

Bottom line, daily driving is safer.


Night time is better for income, easier riding but more chances of unruly passengers. Daytime driving is better for safe driving and ratings. Tips are similar for both. Finding a mix of day and night might be the best option.