Fall is here and the days are getting noticeably shorter. Soon, when we set our clocks back an hour, drivers will find themselves in the dark more often. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), there are three factors that can make driving at night risky. These include limited visibility, increased risk for drowsy driving and impaired driving. Understanding these risks can help you avoid a car accident at night.
Should you be involved in a crash, it’s important that you seek medical attention and speak to an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible.
Limited visibility at night
Visibility becomes limited once the sun goes down, especially on roads that lack lighting. Drivers can usually only see 250 ft. ahead of them at night. Visibility can become even more limited when drivers don’t properly maintain or clean their headlights. Drivers can see up to 500 ft. ahead when their high-beams are activated. That’s still nowhere near the visibility drivers have during the daytime.
Drivers’ depth perception, color recognition and peripheral vision can also be impaired at night. In addition, the glare from the headlights of other cars can make it difficult to see at night.
Older drivers are affected the most by nighttime driving, especially drivers with cataracts and other eye conditions. Drivers age 50 and older need double the amount of light drivers ages 30 and younger need.
It’s important that drivers travel at a reasonable speed at night, stay attentive and avoid following other cars too closely.
Dark conditions and time change can lead to drowsy driving
The time changes brought about by daylight savings can disrupt our sleep schedules and cause daytime drowsiness. In addition, the longer hours of darkness can increase the risk of drowsy driving. This is due to the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, which can be induced by dark conditions.
Drowsy driving results in around 800 traffic fatalities per year, according to the NHTSA. Drowsy driving doesn’t come without these warning signs:
- Repeated yawning and blinking
- Memory loss
- Poor concentration
- Heavy eyelids
- Feeling restless
- Inability to stay within the lines in the road
It’s critical that drivers recognize the warning signs and be prepared to stop driving or take a short nap.
Drunk driving more likely at night
Evenings and nights are the most popular time to consume alcoholic beverages. There are also many celebrations that occur during the fall and winter months. We often see spikes in drunk driving during the Halloween, Thanksgiving and holiday periods. Around 10,000 people die each year in the U.S. due to drunk driving.
Even consuming a small amount of alcohol can induce sleepiness in drivers who are at risk of drowsy driving.
Those who plan on drinking should never get behind the wheel. Instead, they should consider making arrangements to stay at a friend or family member’s house, summon a cab or rideshare, or designate a sober driver.
Contact our Seattle attorneys if you were involved in a car accident
If you were injured in a car accident that happened at night, you may have sustained broken bones, a traumatic brain injury or spinal injuries. You may also be struggling to make ends meet while you’re out of work and stuck with expensive medical bills.
The Seattle car accident attorneys at Nelson Langer Engle, PLLC understand the frustration and suffering you may be going through. Our experienced legal team can handle your claim and the other driver’s insurance company for you. Your only focus should be on your recovery. Let us take care of the rest.
Contact us online today to schedule your free legal consultation.