Nighttime driving poses several dangerous conditions for motorists and may increase their risk of becoming involved in a car accident.
It's no surprise that clear vision is one of the most crucial elements needed to drive safely. According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, drivers' vision provides 85 percent of the information required to avoid hazards and make safe decisions while navigating the roadways. When the sun goes down, many drivers in Chicago and across the country are at greater risk of becoming involved in a serious motor vehicle accident. In fact, car accident fatality rates are three times higher for nighttime drivers as opposed to daytime drivers, as reported by the National Safety Council. What makes driving at night so risky?
Seeing in lowlight conditions
Driving in lowlight conditions can cause a variety of issues for drivers, passengers and other people on the road. Motorists are less likely to see and react to certain hazards, including pedestrians, crosswalks, bicycles, objects in the road, bad weather conditions and other motorists' reckless driving behaviors. Furthermore, drivers who are merging into traffic or making a turn may have difficulties judging the distance and speed of oncoming cars. Lack of light can severely compromise a driver's depth perception, peripheral vision and central vision.
Another obstacle that nighttime drivers face is headlight glare, or the intense light that comes from the headlights of other vehicles. Although headlights are designed to help drivers navigate through dark driving conditions, these bright lights can be dangerous to oncoming and passing motorists. When headlights shine directly into another driver's eyes, he or she may have reduced vision and a slower reaction time. Once the headlights have passed, drivers may experience a recovery period where they still have trouble seeing the road ahead.
Practice safe driving habits
While the dangers of nighttime driving are readily present, motorists can reduce their chances of becoming involved in a tragic auto accident by practicing safe driving. According to GreenerToday.com, motorists should:
• Leave a greater distance between vehicles
• Reduce their speed
• Make sure that the windshield and headlights are clean and clear
• Dim the vehicle's interior lights
• Avoid looking directly at oncoming headlights
Motorists should keep in mind that there are more drunk, drowsy and distracted drivers on the road at night as well. Defensive driving may help to prevent a catastrophic collision.
Getting help after a car accident
Once you have been involved and/or injured in an auto accident, you may need assistance dealing with the insurance companies regarding your claim. It can be difficult handling a claim while you are recovering from serious injuries. You may even have mounting medical bills, extensive property damage and lost wages from work to deal with. A Chicago attorney may be able to help by reviewing your case, answering your questions and giving you legal options.