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Why is Driving at Night So Much More Dangerous?

Autumn is upon us, and you’ve probably already noticed the sun starting to set faster and faster as the days roll by. Pretty soon darkness will descend in what used to be nothing more than a late afternoon hour and you’ll be wondering where the day went. But as the days grow shorter and we prepare to turn our clocks back (for what may be the last time), something else may be on its way back as well: an increase in car accidents.

It should probably come as little surprise that there are vastly more car accidents during nighttime hours than during daylight, but why is darkness such a problem for driving? After all, we have lights on our cars, lights on our streets, and plenty of other infrastructure to make driving without the sun safer and easier than ever. In fact, our cars can even help guide themselves during darkness hours now, using special instruments to make decisions rather than visual cues like our eyes.

Here are a few of the reasons why night driving generally has vastly more accidents than daylight hours and what you can do to avoid falling victim to one with more darkness hours in the day.

Fatigue

For Monday through Friday, the most dangerous hours to be on the road are during the end-of-day rush hour: between 3pm and 9pm, with 6pm to 9pm being particularly dangerous. The biggest reason: simple fatigue. People are tired from a long day at the office, they’ve got a lot on their mind, and they’re eager to simply get home to their families and enjoy their dinner, watch TV, or even get out to their second job. For many people, driving is the last thing on their mind, and yet it’s what they’re doing at that very moment. As visual ability goes down, drivers who are already tired and maybe not as focused as they should be become far more prone to making a mistake that causes a serious accident.

Traffic

To put it simple, there are more cars on the road during rush hour, which means a much greater chance of a serious accident as well. When more cars are driving, the odds are higher that someone is going to make a mistake that results in an accident and serious injuries. When visibility drops, the chances of that become even greater, especially when drivers are already fighting their own fatigue, flashing lights, and a number of other conditions that could easily lead to distraction or impaired visibility.

Car Maintenance

Have your headlights burned out? Is one of your brake lights not turning on? Are your turn signals not responding? These are all extremely important for normal vehicle operation, and their importance only compounds at night when drivers depend on the visual cues of these lights to operate their vehicles. If you don’t have working headlights (or you simply forget to turn them on), another driver may not see you when they try to merge or change lanes, resulting in a collision. If your brake lights aren’t responding well, they could collide with your rear end not recognizing that the traffic in front of them was slowing. Make sure your lights are all in good working condition and repair or replace the ones that aren’t.

Intoxication

One of the favorite pastimes of people everywhere is to enjoy their freedom from the daily grind by consuming a favorite beverage, often at a bar while enjoying a football game or time with friends. Unfortunately a number of these people have too much to drink and get behind the wheel while intoxicated. For Saturdays, this is the number one reason of after-dark car accidents—intoxicated drivers. However, it is still a threat during weeknights as well. The majority of these accidents occur generally after 10pm, with the hours of 12pm to 3am being the most dangerous in terms of the number of drunk drivers on the road.

Have you suffered an injury because of a nighttime car accident? Contact the Martin County car accident attorneys at Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC today! Call (866) 675-4427 to request a free case evaluation and learn more about your legal rights.