Safe driving at night
Driving at night can be dangerous. While staying off your phone or obeying the speed limit are important no matter the time of day, drivers need to exercise additional care when they get behind the wheel in the late afternoon or evening.
For one thing, visibility will be much lower when the sun starts to set. The National Safety Council reports that “Even with high-beam headlights on, visibility is limited to about 500 feet (250 feet for normal headlights) creating less time to react to something in the road, especially when driving at higher speeds.”
Visibility can remain low even in well-lit areas. Streetlights, other vehicles’ high beams, your dashboard, construction lights: all of this can add to the “visual noise” of nighttime driving, and decrease your visibility. If you happen to wear glasses, the reflections of these lights (especially in a mirror or a window) can make night driving particularly dangerous.
All of these elements can make it difficult to read road signs, or see on- and off-ramps for highways. This can easily lead to a wrong-way, head-on collision. Head-on collisions are rare, but they are among the most deadly, and nighttime driving can increase the chance of them happening.
Other drivers pose serious threats
Driver error is one of the leading contributors to car crashes, and you can’t control how other drivers will act. People will speed, talk on their phones, neglect to use their blinkers, and so forth, simply because they believe they won’t be seen in the dark. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also found that you are 3.6 times more likely to be in a fatal car accident involving a drunk driver at night (32% of all fatal crashes) than during the day (9% of all fatal crashes).
Another potential hazard for night driving is fatigue. Long hours behind the wheel can lead to “highway hypnosis” – that experience of driving for miles and having no recollection of how you got there. If another driver is also tired, he or she may be more susceptible to crossing white lines, merging without looking, or falling asleep at the wheel. Truck drivers in particular are at risk of fatigue, and a collision with a commercial truck can lead to serious, life-threatening injuries for people in passenger vehicles.
Staying safe while driving at night
You may not be able to control other drivers’ behavior, but you can take some steps to protect yourself while you’re driving at night:
- Always use your headlights, even during the late afternoon.
- Make sure to use your blinker, so that other cars will see you signaling.
- Allow erratic or speeding drivers to pass you, and keep a wide berth once they do.
- Wear your contacts to avoid night glare (if possible).
- If you’re driving somewhere new, look at the route your GPS wants to take before you start driving, and make sure the volume is turned up.
- If you’ve been out drinking, call an Uber or a cab.
- Wear your seatbelt, no matter how far you’re driving.
Related information on safe and unsafe driving in South Florida
Yeboah Law Group wants you to arrive alive. Driving at night can be dangerous, so taking a few precautions before you get on the road could help protect you from serious injuries. If you are injured in a car accident at night, we will be here to help. To schedule a free consultation with a Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer form our firm, please call 1-800-TELL-SAM or complete our contact form.