Why So Many Auto Accidents Occur at Night

While nighttime driving accounts for only about one-fourth of all hours driven, 50 percent of the nation’s traffic deaths happen at night, according to the National Safety Council. Driving at night comes with increased risks, even when you’re on familiar roads. The potential for accidents increases as winter approaches and the nights grow longer.

There are multiple reasons why night driving is dangerous. The most obvious is reduced visibility. Even with high beams on, visibility extends to only about 500 feet. That means drivers have far less time to see any hazards and to react than they would have in daylight. The visibility problem tends to get worse with age, as a 50-year-old often needs twice as much light to see as well as a 30-year-old. When driving at night, try to maximize your ability to see by making sure your headlights and windshield are clean and clear and drive slower than you would during the day.

Glare from oncoming vehicles is another nighttime hazard, made worse by the lack of technology known as adaptive driving beams. These glare-reducing headlights have been standard in Europe since 2012 and are available in every major country. But as of 2023, not a single U.S. vehicle came equipped with this technology. Glare is made worse by dirt and fog on windshields, side windows and mirrors. When you’re approaching oncoming traffic at night, slow down and try to look toward the edge of the road, away from the approaching vehicle.

Driving in the dark, for many people, also means driving while tired. The morning and evening rush hours during winter both take place in at least partial darkness, meaning the roads are full of people who are trying to wake up or stay awake after a long day of work. Try to get plenty of sleep so you can be as alert as possible when you drive at night.

Driving at night also means being out on the road with more people who have been drinking. After bars close, it’s a bad time to be driving, as many people still insist on driving themselves home rather than use a rideshare service. The National Safety Council says impaired driving is most common between midnight and 3 a.m. on weekends.

If you’re hurt in a car accident, it is advisable to consult with a qualified New Jersey auto accident lawyer to investigate the crash and to help you recover the maximum amount of compensation you may be owed. Don’t accept an insurance company’s settlement offer without speaking to an attorney first.

The attorneys at Seigel Law in Ridgewood have deep experience representing people injured in New Jersey motor vehicle accidents. Please call 201-444-4000 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.

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