Studies show that drivers are 3 times more likely to get into a fatal crash at night than during the day. Regardless of the reason for these incidents, whether it be drowsiness, driver intoxication, or reckless driving, the roads are far more dangerous when the sun goes down than they are during the daylight hours. In fact, the National Safety Council says that half of all traffic deaths occur at night, despite the fact that we do roughly 75% of our driving during the day.
Learn more about what makes driving at night so dangerous, and prepare yourself for the risks of nighttime driving so you and your family can stay safe.
When you join other drivers on the road you put a certain amount of trust in their ability to drive competently, otherwise their mistakes could cause an accident for you. When you share the road with drowsy drivers, this risk is all the more real. A survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that 37 % of drivers admitted to falling asleep while driving. Of those surveyed, 13% say they fall asleep behind the wheel at least once a month, and 4% have crashed because they fell asleep driving.
Drivers may be tired for any number of reasons and it could occur at any time of day, but most drowsy driving crashes occur at night. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration found most car accidents caused by fatigue occur between the hours of 4 a.m. – 6 a.m., midnight – 2 a.m., and somewhat surprisingly, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m..
One of the more obvious reasons for the increase in risk for nighttime drivers is the lack of visibility in darkness. When the sun goes down, drivers must rely on street lights and their own vehicle’s headlights for visibility, which means their range of sight is limited in the best of situations. With less visibility, drivers have less time to respond if another vehicles swerves towards them, stops, or if some other object or animal crosses their path. Dangerous roads may become all the more treacherous when the driver is less able to see potholes, sudden turns, construction sites, or other hazards.
Unlike some other animals, humans do not have great night vision, and with the low light our depth perception, color recognition, and peripheral vision decreases. Additionally, drivers can sometimes be blinded by the headlights of oncoming traffic, or vehicles with their bright high-beams on. Even drivers with excellent visibility will naturally be less visually capable at night, and drivers with compromised vision may be at a serious disadvantage. Drivers who rely on corrective eyeglasses, contacts, or have other visual issues may struggle with completely accurate vision at night, making it all the more dangerous for everyone else if they decide to get behind the wheel.
During certain times of the year the “rush hour” traffic, between the hours of 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., may be at its heaviest just as the sun comes down, making roads congested and drivers antsy. When you have more cars on the road, there is invariably a stronger likelihood of a crash, especially because drivers are likely in a hurry to get home. To avoid aggressive drivers, drive defensively and stay on high alert, always aware of the other drivers around you.
Impaired driving, where drivers are under the influence of either drugs or alcohol, causes far too many injuries and fatalities each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 30 people die daily in crashes caused by drunk drivers. And, the heaviest number of drunk driving accidents occurs between the hours of midnight and 3 a.m., especially on the weekends. While the number of drunk drivers has drastically decreased in the past decade, recent years have shown a rise in impaired drivers under the influence of drugs.
While these are the most common causes of nighttime car accidents, there are plenty of other reasons a crash can occur. To learn about other common causes of car wrecks, visit car accident attorney, Bryan Caulfield in his Clearwater office or reach out online.
If you or someone you love is injured in a car accident, contact Bryan Caulfield Esq. for a free consultation and find out if you have a case.