Whether coming home from a long day of work or heading out to meet friends for dinner, people fill the roadways even after the sun has set in Georgia. Although they may be familiar with navigating the roadways at night, people may not understand the increased dangers of nighttime driving.
According to the National Safety Council, driving at night increases the risk of being involved in a deadly accident by three times. Driving hazards make it more difficult to see and respond to certain issues that may arise, such as bad weather conditions, animals in the road, pedestrians, bicyclists and other drivers.
One common danger is driver fatigue. Sleeping disorders, lack of sleep, graveyard shifts and long hours at the office contribute to driver drowsiness. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation reports that 37% of American drivers admit to falling asleep while behind the wheel.
Another critical impairment is the lack of natural sunlight. Darkness affects drivers’ depth perception, peripheral vision and color perception. This makes it difficult to identify the distance and speed of oncoming vehicles when turning out into traffic. Drivers over the age of 60 are at a greater risk, as they require more light to see properly and may suffer from macular degeneration, cataracts and other eye diseases.
What can people do to minimize their risk of becoming a victim of a nighttime driving accident?
- Make sure headlights and car lights work properly
- Avoid any distractions while driving, especially cellphone use
- Keep eyes on the road at all times
- Reduce speed
- Avoid looking directly into oncoming headlights
- Get plenty of sleep and avoid driving if tired
While as many as 50% of all traffic accidents occur at night, it is important to stay alert and be aware of nighttime driving dangers.