According to the National Safety Council, the risk of a fatal crash is three times greater at night than it is during the day. Factors contributing to this include night vision, rush hour traffic, impaired drivers from drugs and alcohol, shorter days and fatigue. It also doesn’t help that in dark things such as depth perception, color recognition, and peripheral vision all decrease. Bright headlights from oncoming traffic can also cause a driver to squint or be temporarily blinded from the road. And on dark roads with no street lights, visibility from headlights even on the highest setting is reduced up to 50%.
So what can you do to help prevent accidents at night? Make sure your headlights are aimed correctly and are thoroughly cleaned. Avoid speeding to make sure you can stop in time and clean your windshield to eliminate glare from oncoming headlights. If you wear glasses, making sure the lens are anti-reflective can also help at night.
If you suffer from bad night vision, the American Optometric Association recommends having annual vision exams, driving slowly, minimize the amount of distracted driving at night (such as listening to the radio or bringing passengers into the car). Elderly people might suffer from cataracts or degenerative eye disease so it recommended that they don’t drive at night.
A National Sleep Foundation poll says that 60% of adults have driven while they were tired and roughly 4 million of them have admitted that they have caused a crash by falling asleep while driving. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration said that 100,000 police reported crashes were a result of driver fatigue. To prevent drowsy driving, getting proper sleep at night and only driving during hours you are normally awake can help prevent accidents.
Driving at night is unavoidable but if there’s option to wait until morning, it might be the safest thing you can do.