How To Reduce Your Risk of a Night Time Driving Accident
Many studies have shown that night is the most dangerous time to drive, with accidents peaking on Saturday nights. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers are three times more likely to have a fatal accident at night than during the day. There are various reasons for this including, rush hour, the large percentage of drivers – especially older drivers – who don’t see well in the dark, the increase in impaired drivers and feelings of fatigue. According to stack.com, our bodies produce more melatonin when it’s dark and this increase leads to a surge in feeling fatigued and tired.
Now that we have gone back to Pacific Standard Time, it’s dark early in Whatcom County. This is a great time to consider the risks of night driving.
How does night driving affect vision?
When we drive in the dark, we must be extra cautious. We need clear vision to drive safely and the dark affects our vision negatively in the following ways:
- Color recognition
- Peripheral vision
- Depth perception
- Glare from headlights can cause temporary blindness or halos that make it harder to see.
Many drivers make use of their high-beam headlights but even with them on, visibility is limited to about 500 feet (250 feet for normal headlights). This is compared to about three miles of visibility during daylight hours. This means that drivers have less time to react to an unexpected obstacle such as a vehicle in front of them slamming on their brakes. When reduced visibility is combined with speeding, it can be a particularly deadly combination.
How drivers can reduce night time driving accidents
In order to avoid the biggest issues drivers face in the dark, here are some night time driving tips from the National Safety Council (NSC):
- Check that your headlights are aimed correctly and make sure they’re clean.
- Look away from oncoming lights.
- If you wear glasses or use night-time driving glasses, make sure to upgrade to the anti-reflective coating.
- Dim your dashboard.
- Clean the windshield to make sure they are no streaks.
- To make up for limited visibility and subsequent reduced stopping time, slow down.
Ways to combat reduced night vision
As humans age, our ability to see well in low-light conditions diminishes. We literally need more light to see properly: a 50-year-old driver may need twice as much light to see as well as a driver who is 30-year-old. Drivers over the age of 60 often have other eye conditions such as cataracts and degenerative eye diseases that make it even harder to see at night.
The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that older drivers:
- Get their eyes checked by a licensed Optometrist every year.
- Reduce driving speeds at night.
- Take a refresher driving course every few years.
- Avoid distracted driving – never use a cell phone while driving and be careful not to get too distracted by conversation or listening to the radio.
- Check with their doctor about side effects of prescription drugs – some drugs may cause drowsiness.
- Limit driving to daytime hours or to a small geographical area, if necessary.
Seek the help of a car accident attorney
If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced car accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!