Since your ability to perceive and judge distance is severely impaired at night — the human eye requires light to see — night driving is a top cause of car accidents. An estimated 90 percent of all driver decisions are made based on what they see. While your eyes are capable of seeing in limited light, the combination of headlights and road lights, with the darkness beyond them, can cause several problems for your vision. Therefore, car drivers must take extra precaution to avoid an auto accident during the night.
If one of our clients is involved in a night driving car accident, our car accident lawyers want to know if there was any lighting or illumination where the car accident occurred (e.g., street lights or other lighting and also how powerful it was). We also look for any additional visual obstructions which contributed to the car accident. And, many times, our attorneys actually go out to the scene of the car accident and recreate the conditions that led up to the crash.
Nighttime Car Accident Statistics
Car accident statistics are jarring at night. Despite 60 percent less traffic on the roads, more than 40 percent of all fatal car accidents occur at night.
Sunlight provides the strongest light source. When it goes down at night, there are a variety of man-made lights that help drivers safely navigate the roads. Our eyes will adjust to lower levels of light (pupils dilate in darkness and constrict in brightness), but they have difficulty functioning properly when switching from bright to dark, or vice-versa. This can happen quite a lot on the roads at night when you look directly into the headlights of oncoming traffic.
Driving either just before sunrise (dawn) or immediately after sunset (dusk) are also very dangerous time periods on the roadways, and many car accidents occur during these times. The problem is that while the sky is still well lit, the roads begin to get dark. This causes a disparity between light and dark and can cause vision problems for drivers.
Drunk Drivers & Drowsy Drivers More Likely at Night
Drunk drivers (DUI) are more likely to be on the road at night. Nighttime drivers need to be vigilant and on the look-out for these major auto accident causers.
Drowsy driving is another added danger on the roadways at night as people are generally winding down their days and growing sleepy. Drivers that fall asleep at the wheel, or even ones that are dazed and unobservant, can cause fatal car accidents. As car accident lawyers, we recommend that if you find yourself growing weary, stop at a rest stop or well-lit parking lot and take a quick nap. Even a short nap replenishes you better than the temporary relief that you will get from caffeine, loud music or opening the windows.
Car Accident Lawyer’s Night Driving Safety Tips
1. Allow for enough distance to stop. We recommend that you gauge this distance using your headlights. Low beams should allow you to see up to 160 feet away, while high beams should illuminate about 500 feet in front of you. Make sure that, if and when you must brake hard, that you can brake within those distances.
2. Keep your dashboard lights at a safe low setting. Since the contrast between bright and dark will impede your vision, limiting the brightness in your car should help you see at night and avoid car accidents.
3. Keep your windshield and windows clean. Limiting the glare from other headlights is very important. A dirty windshield will not help in this regard.
4. Limit distractions. Since your vision will not be as good as it is during the day, your reaction times will also be slower than normal. This is why you should focus your attention on the road even more than you would other times.
There are many potential dangers that you will face on the road late at night. As car accident lawyers, we hope that you will always drive carefully regardless of the road conditions. These tips should help you successfully navigate the nighttime roads and reach your destination safely. Just remember to take your time and drive safely, and you will avoid a potential wrongful death car accident.
Call Us Now to Maximize Your Auto Accident Settlement
If you’re injured in a car accident that occurred at night, call our bilingual San Diego law firm now at 1-858-551-2090 for a FREE consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer or click here to submit your case for a FREE online review. We look forward to providing good advice to help you make smart decisions about your case.