If you are like many other Massachusetts motorists, your day may not end when the sun sets. Whether traveling home from work or heading out to have dinner with friends, the roadways are filled with late-night drivers.
Yet even the most cautious drivers face additional hazards while driving at night. It is critical to know what these dangers are in order to minimize your risk of getting involved in a late-night car accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatal motor vehicle accidents peak on Saturday nights.
Lack of natural light
One of the most dangerous, and most obvious hazards of nighttime driving is the lack of natural light. Not only does dim lighting affect peripheral vision, but depth perception and color recognition as well. This can make it difficult to judge the distance and speed of oncoming vehicles. Elderly motorists may suffer from certain eye conditions, such as macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma, making it difficult to see.
Looking directly into bright headlights can cause temporary blindness, leaving brief moments where you cannot see at all. This can delay your response time, especially when faced with objects in the road, bad weather conditions and other drivers’ behavior.
Other factors to consider
According to the National Safety Council, there are more drunk and drowsy drivers at night than during the day. One poll’s results found that 60% of adult drivers admit to driving drowsy and an additional 103 million people actually fell asleep at the wheel.
There are steps you can take to limit your risk to nighttime car accidents, including the following:
- Avoid all distractions while driving, including using cellphones or adjusting the radio
- Ensure headlights and interior lights work properly
- Have vision checked regularly
- Stay alert and never drive while drowsy or intoxicated
Be sure to avoid speeding and remain cautious of your surroundings. Try not to rush to where you are going, and make sure you arrive safe and sound.