Driving during the night can be dangerous. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the most dangerous time to drive is between 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM. In any given year approximately 6.6 people are killed between 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM and another 6.6 people between 6:00 PM and 7:00 PM. This period is referred to as the afternoon rush hour when people are coming home from the office. Another dangerous time to drive is between 12:00 AM to 4:00 AM because of the number of drunk drivers on the road.
The following are factors which make driving at night dangerous:
1. Reduced visibility. – The most used sense when driving is our vision. Our eyes need light to be able to see, and when it becomes dark, our ability to see is significantly lessened, especially for elderly drivers because aging can deteriorate your eyesight.
2. Rush hour. – Because of the traffic caused by the slow stop-and-go movement and the volume of vehicles on the road, the possibility of getting into an accident during rush hour is quite high; this is true even during the summer season when the afternoon rush is not as dark.
3. Tired driver. – Coming from a long day at work can cause drivers to be exhausted or even drowsy when they drive home at night.
4. Distracted driver. – Drivers on their way home might be distracted by the things that they need to do after work. Picking up dinner for the family or groceries for the week can seem like small things, but when you’re tired from work and need to run errands afterward, these can lead to accidents. An example of this is texting your spouse or someone you live with and asking them what to get for dinner.
Now that you’ve identified the factors that make night driving dangerous, it’s time to take the following steps to make sure that you avoid accidents when you drive during the dark:
1. Light up. – Use your headlights and taillights correctly. Your headlights and taillights will help you see everything on the road; these enable other drivers to see you as well. Only use your high beams whenever you’re alone on the road and not when there are vehicles in the other lane. Fog lights can also be useful when it’s dark, and there are no other sources of light around. Keep your headlights and taillights in good condition and have them checked regularly.
2. Glass maintenance. – You should keep all the glass component of your vehicle clean at all times, especially your windshield. Your windshield may appear clean during the daytime, but during the night, when you’re driving towards oncoming headlights, there may be streaks that can cause glare. Dirty side mirrors can cause light from behind you to take on a diffused shape and can cause glare as well. Try cleaning your windshield and side mirrors with newspaper to remove residue and avoid using your hands. Our body produces oils which can further blur your windshield and side mirrors.
3. 20-20 Vision. – Keep your eyes healthy. Have them checked regularly and wear glasses if necessary. It’s also best to get an anti-reflective pair of glasses for night driving to lessen the risk of getting into an accident because of temporarily impaired vision caused by other drivers’ high beams.
4. Stay alert. – Although this is a general rule whenever you’re operating a vehicle, you should exercise more caution when driving in the dark. Be sure to check out for lights and movement and regularly check your mirrors. Aside from helping you be aware of everything that’s happening around you, doing this can also help you stay awake since it keeps your eyes busy with activity. Staying alert also enables you to identify drunk drivers on the road when you’re driving between 12:00 AM and 4:00 AM.
Were you involved in a car accident during the night? Contact us at Hogan Injury for expert legal advice.
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