Most people agree that driving at night isn't their favorite time to travel. The dangers of being involved in a car accident increase after the sun goes down.
However, the risks may be even worse than people think.
According to the National Safety Council, the chances of a fatal motor vehicle wreck are three times greater at night than during the day. Here, we explain why these deadly crashes occur, how to avoid them in the future, and your right to compensation if you're a victim of a nighttime collision.
Major Causes of Vehicle Accidents at Night
All vehicle operators must drive for the current conditions. When there's rain, snow, ice, or fog, or when it's dark, motorists must be even more cautious. But if weather isn't affecting travel, some motorists think they'll drive the same way at night as they do during the day.
Unfortunately, there are a number of factors that make being on the roads after nightfall more dangerous, including:
- Reduced vision. All drivers experience reduced night vision, which means they should slow down to drive safely. Night visibility problems are even greater for drivers over 50, who often need twice as much light to see as someone half their age; and for people who have cataracts or need corrective lens but don't wear them. When drivers fail to account for how traveling in the dark affects their vision, this may prove hazardous.
- Impaired drivers. The risk of being injured by someone driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is greater at night, especially between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. These accidents are also more likely to be fatal because intoxicated drivers can engage in reckless behaviors such as speeding, weaving between lanes, and going the wrong way on a one-way road or highway ramp.
- Fatigue. Accidents caused by tired drivers are a huge problem in our country no matter what time of the day or night. A poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation indicates 60 percent of adult motorists drive while sleepy. Fatigued drivers are three times more likely to be in accident, and other studies reveal the majority of crashes happen between peak nighttime hours of 12:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m.
- Animals. Especially at dusk during fall, deer and other animals can dart in front of traffic. If a driver isn't alert to this, he can cause an accident with another vehicle.
Tips for Avoiding a Nighttime Accident
Choosing not to drive at night is probably not an option you would agree to, because it limits many necessary and fun activities. However, you can take precautions to keep you and your family safe:
- Keep your vehicle’s headlights, windows, and windshield clean.
- Never drink or consume drugs and drive.
- Reduce your speed at night and increase your distance from other vehicles.
- Keep your dashboard lights at a lower setting, as a high setting could impact your vision.
- Position your headlights to not blind another driver.
- Don't use your high beams when other drivers are nearby.
- If another driver doesn't turn off his high beams, look at the white line to the right to avoid some of the glare.
- Don’t engage in distracted driving behavior such as eating, drinking, or using your cellphone.
- Avoid driving when you're tired—find a safe place to pull off and nap or have a more alert person in your vehicle take over.
- If you must drive for long periods at night, schedule breaks to rest, eat, and get out of the vehicle.
Your Right to Injury Compensation
If a negligent driver caused your nighttime car accident, you could be entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. However, you'll need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney to prove the driver’s failure to use reasonable care and the value of your claim.
The experienced and trustworthy legal team at Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys is available to help. Contact us online or call our office directly at 816.471.5111 Call to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation and learn about your options.