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Driving through darkness: The unique hazards of driving at night

On Behalf of | Jun 15, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Driving at night can be an exhilarating experience, offering a sense of freedom and tranquility on empty roads. However, as the sun sets and darkness rises, the risks associated with night driving become all too real.

Even though people only do about 25% of their driving after dark, that’s when 50% of all fatal car accidents occur. These are some of the reasons why.

Reduced visibility

The most apparent challenge of night driving is reduced visibility. Human eyes have a harder time adjusting to low light conditions, making it more difficult to perceive hazards on the road. Factors such as poorly lit streets, oncoming headlights and limited peripheral vision pose significant challenges. It’s crucial to adapt your driving habits to accommodate these limitations.

Increased fatigue and drowsiness

Nighttime is associated with our natural sleep cycle, leading to increased fatigue and drowsiness. The risk of falling asleep behind the wheel is significantly higher during nighttime hours. The combination of darkness, the monotony of the mostly empty roads and the body’s natural inclination for rest can have dire consequences for many drivers.

Impaired depth perception and peripheral vision

Depth perception and the ability to accurately judge distances can be compromised in low-light conditions. Peripheral vision is also diminished, reducing driver awareness of objects or hazards on the sides of the road.

Encounters with impaired drivers

Nighttime driving tends to coincide with increased instances of impaired driving since that’s when most people do their relaxing and partying. The presence of intoxicated or drowsy drivers on the road poses a significant threat to everyone’s safety – and it’s very difficult to avoid them.

Wildlife encounters

Nighttime driving increases the likelihood of encountering wildlife on the road, particularly during mating seasons. Animals may be harder to spot in the darkness, increasing the risk of collisions.

Speeding and reckless drivers

There’s something about driving in the dark on partially empty roads that seems to embolden some drivers to speed and take other risks. That also puts everybody on the road in danger.

By understanding these risks and taking proactive measures, such as maintaining proper vehicle lighting, managing fatigue staying alert and adjusting your own driving habits to be more cautious, you can navigate the darkness with greater confidence and safety. Unfortunately, you can still end up in a wreck through no fault of your own. If that happens, seek experienced guidance to learn more about what it could take to get fair compensation for your losses.