Few things are worse than cruising under the night sky down the freeway and getting someone else’s high beams shone directly into your eyes. Very few people enjoy driving at night. From animals scampering into the middle of the road to straining your eyes attempting to see the street name for your next turn, driving at night is not an easy feat – nor is it safe. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the fatality rate for those who drive at night is approximately three times higher than those who drive during the day. More than half of car accidents occur at night.
Factors that Make Driving at Night Dangerous
The following is a list of factors that make driving at night dangerous:
The darkness. Without the help of natural light, the human eye’s field of vision is drastically smaller. Even with the use of headlights, a driver’s 20/20 vision is reduced to 20/50 once the sun goes down. In addition, according to Forbes magazine, the darkness affects depth perception, the ability to distinguish color, and peripheral vision.
Glare. Bright lights decorate the roads at night -- from the high beams of oncoming cars to neon road signs. The glare caused by these lights coming through your windshield can blind drivers for a couple seconds. This may not seem long but any time you take your eyes off the road, whether night or day, you are increasing your risk of danger.
Other factors. When driving at night, many suffer from fatigue and lack of alertness. In addition, the number of drunk drivers on the road, especially during closing times for bars and taverns, drastically increases at night.
Tips for Driving Safer at Night
Fortunately, there are a few tips you can use to help increase your safety during the nighttime hours on the road.
Prepare your car for takeoff. Clean all the lights around your car including signal lights, headlights, and tail-lights regularly – you want your lights to be as bright as possible to light your way at night. Any dust or condensation within the headlights can dim the light. Also, clean your windshield. Streaks on your windows show more prominently at night when streetlights and headlights shine down on them. This cannot only be a distraction, but can also cause blind spots.
Slow down. Before you start driving at night, give your eyes a chance to adjust to the darkness before getting behind the wheel. When you do get behind the wheel, reduce your driving speed. Headlights typically extend up to 250 feet, with high beams extending up to 500 feet in front of your car -- meaning, if you are driving 60 mph, your car will require more than 200 feet to stop. If you are not stopping in your illuminated area, you are creating a blind crash area in front of your vehicle. By slowing down, you will have more time to react to objects you cannot see as well in the dark.
Do not be a deer in the headlights. Avoid that moment of blindness caused by glare from oncoming cars by avoiding staring directly into other car’s headlights. Also, use the night setting on your rear view mirror to deflect the glare from vehicles behind you.
Watch for animals. Many animals are more active when the sun goes down. Be very perceptive, especially while driving through highly forested areas and watch for reflections of your headlights in their eyes to avoid hitting animals.
The Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Goldstein Hayes & Lina, LLC understand that car accident lawsuits can be a stressful process, especially if you or someone you love has been injured. If you have been involved in a car accident, whether at night or during the day, contact Goldstein Hayes & Lina, LLCfor a free consultation.