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The dangers of nighttime driving: What you should know

While you might be familiar with driving at night, you may be unaware of nighttime driving dangers. According to the National Safety Council, you are three times more likely to get in a deadly car accident at night than during the day.

At night, you may have a delayed response time to hazards, such as bad weather conditions, objects on the road, pedestrians, bicyclists or other drivers’ behavior. Knowing the dangers of nighttime driving can help minimize the risk of a catastrophic accident.

The issues

Even with the glow of streetlights and headlights, people experience reduced vision when driving at night. The lack of sunlight can cause deficiencies in peripheral vision, central vision, color recognition and depth perception. This can make it difficult for motorists to judge the distance and speed of oncoming traffic. Older adults who suffer from conditions, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts, may have even greater night vision issues.

Distracted, drunk and drowsy drivers pose a greater risk at night as well. Not only are there a greater number of drunk and drowsy motorists on the road, but the reduced light makes it harder for them to drive. A surprising number of motorists have fallen asleep at the wheel or admit to driving while intoxicated.

Possible solutions

There are some steps you can take to help you drive safely at night, including the following:

  • Avoid looking directly into oncoming headlights
  • Make sure your inside and outside car lights work properly
  • Have your eyes checked regularly
  • Avoid all distractions
  • Never drive drowsy
  • Stay alert

When driving at night, do not be afraid to wait an extended period of time to turn out into traffic until you know it is safe. If you see someone driving recklessly, be sure to alert law enforcement so they can take care of the issue in a safe manner.

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