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Does driving in the dark increase accident risk?

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2021 | car accidents

As the sun sets earlier and the days become shorter, your schedule may require you to drive in the dark more often than usual. While you may be familiar with driving at night, doing so often comes with increased dangers and risks.

Bright headlights, vision difficulties and nighttime distractions are just some of the issues caused by a lack of natural sunlight. Yet, there are steps you can take to increase your safety and minimize your risk of getting into a deadly car accident.

Vision difficulties

Not only is it harder for drivers to see in the dark, but the bright glare of headlights and streetlights can also contribute to drivers’ vision difficulties. According to the National Safety Council, a lack of natural sunlight compromises drivers’ central vision, peripheral vision, color recognition and depth perception. This can make it challenging for a motorist to tell the speed and distance of an oncoming car.

Furthermore, drivers over the age of 50 years old required twice as much light to see as clearly as a 30-year-old. This vision deficiency is worsened for people who have eye conditions, including cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration.

Distracted, drunk and drowsy driving

Cases of distracted, drunk and drowsy driving are more prevalent at night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 60% of drivers admit to driving while they were tired and another 103 million people have fallen asleep at the wheel. It is important to do the following to minimize your accident risk while driving at night:

  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep at night
  • Avoid all distractions while driving, such as talking, texting or using your cellphone
  • Make sure you have your eyes checked regularly
  • Make sure your car headlights are working properly
  • Stay alert and drive cautiously around other drivers
  • Avoid looking directly into oncoming headlights

Knowing what to do while driving at night can help prevent a serious accident involving injuries and potential death.