Fatigue, impaired drivers, rush hour, poor night vision, and bright blinding headlights are just a few of the dangers that come with driving at night. As the weekend arrives, these dangers become much more intense, with fatal crashes spiking on mostly Friday and Saturday nights. Anyone who works second and third shifts and those responsible for day-to-day activities or who wishes to spend the evening or night with family and friends must drive at night. Unfortunately, as the light fades, driving becomes riskier. Although we only do a quarter of our driving at night, it accounts for half of the traffic fatalities. Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that road fatalities triple at night which is why it is more dangerous to drive at night than during the day.
Dangers of night driving
In general, because of how bright modern car’s headlights are, the eyes struggle to see at night, with peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to identify colors diminishes. Driving at night involves risks and challenges that you do not face during the day, such as shorter days and impaired night vision. Furthermore, daily dangers become a little more frightening under the cover of darkness.
Because your vision contributes to about 90% of your reaction time while driving, driving at night significantly reduces your ability to respond to potential road hazards effectively. Even with high-beam headlights turned on, your visibility is limited to around 350 to 500 feet (160 to 250 feet with regular headlights), giving you less time to respond.
Night blindness is an eye condition that makes it difficult to see in poor lighting conditions or at night. Symptoms are:
- Impaired vision at night or poor lighting
- Peripheral vision disorder
- Maybe a loss of central vision
The following factors make driving at night more dangerous;
- Poor visibility: We no longer have natural light to assist us in seeing road signs, other drivers, pedestrians, road debris, animals, and other impediments at night. It also makes judging the distance between your car and another car more difficult. Driving at night necessitates the use of headlights and street lights, both of which do not provide the same level of vision as natural light.
- Age: Unfortunately, as we become older, our night vision deteriorates. Furthermore, cataracts and degenerative eye conditions might impair eyesight among aged drivers.
- Rush hour: Rush hour is a dangerous driving time at any time of year. The commute time grows riskier as the days become shorter and darkness approaches earlier, especially when driving in stop-and-go or bumper-to-bumper traffic.
- Fatigued driving: Research published by the National Sleep Foundation informs us that sleep-deprived drivers are responsible for 6,400 deaths and 50,000 fatal injuries annually on our roads. A tired driver’s reaction time is considerably diminished, and they can be seen on the road at any time of day, but the hours between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. are the most dangerous.
- Driving while intoxicated: On weekends, between the hours of 12 and 3 a.m., impaired drivers are more likely to flood the road. As people leave restaurants and pubs at night, there is a greater chance of sharing the road with an impaired driver. A report from the National Safety Council, Weekend nights are the most dangerous time of the week for fatal accidents.
- Distracted drivers: Anything that takes your hands off the wheel, eyes off the road, or thoughts off driving is a distraction, as we all know. At night, this can be an even more lethal combination.
Safety tips when driving at night
- Check to see if your headlights and brake lights are working properly.
- Make sure your headlights are aimed correctly and that they are clean.
- Restore your headlights using a restoration kit and about an hour before the sun sets, turn on your headlights. This allows other drivers to see you more easily at dusk.
- Use your high beams with caution. You don’t want to blind other drivers.
- Reduce the brightness of your dashboard lights. The lights in your vehicle can occasionally generate a glare on your windshield at night.
- Drive slowly. When you drive too fast, you lose your ability to react to whatever is on the road.
- Give some space between you and the vehicle in front of you.
- You can avoid evening glare by focusing your sights on the right side of the road near the white lines, using the day-night mode on your rearview mirror, and keeping your windshield clear.
- Take breaks in between long drives.
- Drivers who swerve or drift should be avoided.
- Decide when it’s time to pull over to a safe rest stop and sleep or nap.