Although many drivers may believe they’re more likely to be involved in an automobile accident during the day – on their way to work, the mall or to pick up the kids from soccer practice – statistics show your chances of having a collision are greatly increased when driving at night. There are several factors that may be to blame for the high number of accidents after dark.
You might think your vision is fine and that sitting behind the wheel at night doesn’t affect you, but you’d be surprised to learn that it could still have an effect on your driving and on other drivers sharing the road with you. That’s because – other drivers may pose a risk – even if you don’t.
Lack of adequate lighting
The lack of adequate lighting on narrow rural roads, two-lane highways and freeways can lead to various types of accidents – from minor to life-threatening. Relying entirely on your headlights on an unfamiliar road can result in carrying too much speed around corners, leading to missing a sharp curve and a potentially serious rollover.
While poor lighting can be pointed to as the probable cause of your accident, the fact is, you may have likely been driving too fast for the road you were on. And, with reduced visibility and a shorter time to react, you were stretching your safety window.
Not all individuals adapt to reduced lighting
You also have to remember that not all individuals are able to adapt to reduced lighting in the same manner. Night time driving conditions can affect them more negatively than they may affect you and that can increase their risk of a collision with pedestrians, other vehicles – including yours – and objects in the road.
The bright glow of a cellphone screen can cause the driver to temporarily lose sight of what’s ahead of him in the distance since your eyes adjust to the nearest source of light first. Therefore, if someone is crossing the street ahead or a vehicle has slowed or stopped in a dimly lit part of the road, your chances of seeing the hazard are greatly reduced. The end result could be a devastating accident.
Headlight beams and momentary blindness
Furthermore, the headlight beams from oncoming vehicles can momentarily blind a driver who inadvertently stares directly into them as they pass. Should it be raining or if the pavement is wet from a recent shower, road markings and highway lanes may be hard to distinguish, especially at high speed.
Tired, sleepy or intoxicated motorists
Another risk you face, when driving at night, is the frequency of motorists who are tired, sleepy or intoxicated. All of these conditions add to the annual number of incidents resulting in serious injury or death for motorists sitting behind the wheel at night.
According to the most recent statistics, over 40 percent of all vehicle fatalities involving motor vehicle crashes occurred during the night time hours or in the early morning. The studies went on to show that you were three times more likely to die in a collision at night or early morning than during any daytime hour.
More causes of night time collisions
Additional factors highlighted as causes of night time collisions included:
- Road construction
- Improper placement of road signs
- Careless drivers
- Cellphone use (texting, calling, snapchat)
- Weather conditions
Avoidable risk factors may be reduced
Of course, some of the avoidable risk factors may be reduced by:
- Decreasing your speed to allow for conditions.
- Maintain attentiveness – don’t text and drive.
- Plan ahead so you don’t have to rush anywhere in the dark.
- Don’t drink and drive.
What happens is well within your control
A lot of what happens to you behind the wheel at night is well within your control. Unfortunately, several factors are often unavoidable when other drivers are involved, which is why you’ll want to do everything on your end to reduce your chance of an accident. In the end, the least of your worries may be higher auto insurance rates.
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