Car driving at night in a city.

The Dangers of Night Driving and How to Stay Safe

We all know that driving at night can be dangerous, but do you know just how dangerous? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of fatal traffic accidents triples at night. While the NHTSA estimates that there is 60 percent less traffic on the roads at night, the significantly increased chance of being involved in a devastating motor vehicle accident is still there. Here we not only discuss the unique dangers presented by driving at night but also how you can take steps to keep yourself and others on the road safe.

Tips for Driving at Night

Why can driving at night be so much more dangerous than daytime driving? Well, for one, we humans are naturally sleepier at night. We are diurnal, which means we have a natural tendency to be more aware and awake during the day and more fatigued at night. Our reaction time slows and we are less alert. Most of us also tend to spend all day working or accomplishing various tasks that leave us exhausted at the end of the day. Sleepy drivers mean less aware drivers with slower reaction times.

Another obvious reason for increased danger associated with night driving: It is dark at night. An obvious truth, but one that is important to consider when evaluating the dangers of nighttime driving. The dark compromises our vision. It affects our depth perception, peripheral vision, and color recognition. Additionally, the tools we use to cope with the effects of the dark have their own effects. The lights of oncoming traffic can be blinding and leave our vision-impaired for a critical amount of time afterward. The dark also means it is more difficult to see things like pedestrians, animals, road obstructions, and damaged roads. Trying to avoid any of these things when you don’t see them to the last minute can lead to things like dangerous swerving.

There are also dangerous driving behaviors that do happen during the day but can prove to be more dangerous at night. For instance, speeding is never a good idea. At night, when conditions compromise your vision and people tend to have slower reaction times, speeding becomes even more dangerous. Additionally, more people tend to drive while impaired at night. In fact, over half of the fatal car crashes that occur at night are drug or alcohol-related.

To stay safe at night, try to avoid driving whenever possible. If you have to drive at night, make sure your car is properly maintained. You will want to be sure that your headlights, signal lights, mirrors, windows, and wiper blades are all clean and functioning. If you find yourself sleepy, pullover. Never drink and drive. Keep a greater distance between yourself and other cars.

Pennsylvania Personal Injury Attorneys

Night driving is sometimes unavoidable. If you have to drive at night, take care out there on the road. Although, it happens all too often that we take every safety precaution possible and still fall victim to the negligent action or inaction of another. If you have been injured in a car crash caused by someone else’s negligence, talk to the dedicated personal injury attorneys at Cooper Schall & Levy. We pursue full and fair compensation for our injured clients. Contact us today.