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Nighttime driving: What are the risks?

While driving at night may feel like second nature, there are many hazards that appear once the sun has set. As the days grow shorter, knowing what these nighttime hazards are can help to minimize your risk of being injured in a serious car accident.

According to the National Safety Council, you are three times more likely to die in a nighttime car accident than you are during the day. Not only is it harder to see at night, but other distractions can affect your ability to drive safely at night.

Can you see in the dark?

Although the human eye is able to adapt to low-light situations, a lack of natural light can compromise your vision, including your peripheral vision, color recognition and depth perception. The darkness can make it more difficult to distinguish between moving and stationary objects, an object’s distance and how fast it is moving.

This is especially true for drivers over the age of 60, as they require twice the amount of light as a 30-year old to see properly. Older drivers may also have conditions that affect their vision, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma or cataracts.

What if it is too bright?

Have you ever become temporarily blinded after looking directly into extremely bright headlights from an oncoming car? Headlight blindness is a real phenomenon experienced by many nighttime motorists. Some vehicles have particularly bright headlights which can make it hard to see anything once you look away from them.

What can you do?

Driving safely at night is easier than you may think. Consider doing the following:

  • Reduce your speed
  • Remain cautious of your surroundings
  • Be prepared to stop for animals or objects in the road
  • Make sure your headlights work properly
  • Have your vision checked regularly
  • Get plenty of sleep and avoid distractions

Since drunk and drowsy drivers are more prevalent at night, it is important to avoid any distractions and focus on the road.


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