Car crashes are a reality of driving, especially at night. This may seem surprising since there is less traffic on the roads for most of the evening hours. Yet, the National Safety Council says that as much as 50 percent of all traffic deaths occur after dark.
Below, Anderson & Cummings looks at some of the reasons driving at night is more dangerous and what you can do to avoid being in a nighttime crash.
If you get injured in a collision at night despite your best efforts, we are here to help. Our vehicle accident attorneys in Fort Worth have extensive experience helping the injured in Texas. Not sure if you have a case? Many people may feel uncertain about their legal options after a crash. The good news is that you can get answers to your legal questions without spending a dime.
Contact our law offices anytime, night or day. We have staff available to take your call 24/7.
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Why is Driving at Night More Dangerous?
We all know that when the sun goes down and it gets darker out, it is harder to see. The human eye cannot see as well at night, and while there are streetlights in some areas, they are not everywhere. Some lights may not be efficient and others may be broken and in need of repair.
Since we have reduced visibility at night, our eyes will not be able to catch every hazard or obstacle that may be on the road. Even if we do see a potential problem, such as a deer or other wildlife darting into the road, we may not see it in time to react or avoid a crash.
Daylight savings time adds to the problem because it is darker during the time when most people are driving to work in the morning or home from work at night. Adding bad weather, such as rain, snow or fog, to the mix only makes matters worse.
What Are Some Common Crash Risks of Driving at Night?
There are many crash risks at night that are less common during the day. These crash risks include:
Although some people do get tired when driving, regardless of the time of day, it is more common for people to feel tired at night. Other reasons for driver fatigue at night include:
- People leaving bars after a night of partying
- Night shift workers headed home
- Truck drivers and others who suffer from sleep disorders
- Long, empty highways which have a hypnotic effect on some drivers
There are always more instances of drivers who are impaired by drugs, alcohol and other substances after dark. Unfortunately, the negligence of these individuals significantly increases the risk of a serious or fatal crash.
Illegal High Beams or Improper High Beam Use
Today, there are many vehicles with bright headlights. Sometimes these bright headlights may temporarily blind drivers, especially less experienced drivers or those with poor night vision. If you are also using headlights, and you should be when driving at night, you could be using them improperly which could further impair your vision.
Night Driving on Rural Roads
If you think it is hard to see when driving on a highway at night, it is far worse to be on a rural road in low light or after dark. Driving on rural roads at night is especially risky because:
- They are less maintained and therefore more likely to have potholes and other obstacles
- There are often no streetlights, so you only have the benefit of your headlights
- Rural roads are more winding and it may be hard to see a curve in the road after dark
Wildlife or Domestic Animals in the Road
Seeing an animal that darted into the road suddenly and reacting in time to stop is difficult, no matter what time of day it is. At night, it is much harder. Your headlamps may not provide enough light to catch an animal in the road soon enough to avoid a crash.
Jaywalkers, Pedestrians and Cyclists
As long as you are paying attention, you are fairly likely to see a pedestrian crossing in a designated crossing area. However, jaywalkers are much harder to see, because they may not be watching for traffic and often cross in areas where there are no streetlights to help drivers see. Additionally, jaywalkers may be headed home from a local bar or neighborhood party.
Cyclists and those riding scooters may also be hard to see at night, especially if they do not have any reflectors to help make them more visible.
Is It Possible to Reduce Your Risk of a Crash at Night?
The good news is that drivers can absolutely reduce their risk of a crash at night. However, it involves defensive driving and taking precautions that can help to keep you out of harm’s way. Here are some steps you can take to help prevent you from being involved in a crash at night:
- Protect your eyes: Get your vision checked regularly and if you have glasses, wear them.
- Learn how to handle headlights: Make sure you are using your headlights correctly so they do not blind other drivers. For yourself, remember never to look directly into the lights of oncoming vehicles. Look to the right and down to avoid being hit by the bright light.
- Check your interior lights: Adjust your interior lights so they are not too bright. Otherwise, the contrast between your interior lights and the dark outdoors could impair your vision and make it harder for your eyes to adjust.
- Keep your windshield, windows and mirrors clean: Streaks of water, snow and dirt can make it difficult to see in an already hazardous situation.
- Maintain your wipers: Old wipers can smear your windshield and significantly hinder your vision, especially at night.
- Rush hour mindfulness: Distracted driving behavior, such as texting, is always a bad idea, but during rush hour, it is upping your risk of a crash by a lot.
- Do not drive when impaired: Whether you are fatigued, or under the influence of alcohol or other substances, make it a habit never to get behind the wheel in this condition.
- Adjust your driving speed: Drive slower at night and leave enough distance between you and other drivers to give you more time to react to a road hazard.
- Avoid driving at night: Some drivers may just not feel comfortable driving at night. If this is you, it may be best to stay off the road at night whenever possible.
Injured in a Crash at Night?
If you were driving at night and injured by the negligence of another driver, you may be eligible to seek significant compensation for your losses.
At Anderson Cummings, we have the resources and staff available to help, and there is no cost to you to learn about your legal options. Additionally, if we represent you, there are no upfront costs to pay. We only collect payment for our services if we win your case.
Call today to learn more, and be sure to check out what our clients have to say about the services we provided them.
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