California drivers still fill the roadways, even after the sun goes down and nighttime sets in. People are rushing home from work, traveling to work or headed out for a night of fun with friends. Yet, many motorists are unaware of the increased dangers of driving at night as opposed to driving during the daytime. AAA reports that people are three times more likely to get killed in a car accident while driving at night than they are during daylight hours. What accounts for this increased risk and what can people do to minimize the dangers of nighttime driving?
The lack of natural light is the biggest contributor to this danger. People are unable to see as clearly at night and may fail to adjust for these changes by slowing down and removing other distractions. A lack of light reduces drivers’ ability to accurately judge the distance and speed of oncoming vehicles. It also interferes with peripheral vision and the eye’s ability to focus on smaller details.
Bright headlights can also cause a type of temporary blindness that could inhibit drivers’ ability to see other hazards in the road, such as bicyclists, pedestrians, animals and objects in the street. Motorists should try to avoid looking directly into the headlights in order to avoid this. Furthermore, there are a greater number of drunk drivers on the road at night. In order to keep safe, motorists should refrain from any distractions, such as using a cellphone while driving or taking their eyes off the road for any reason. They should also increase their awareness of their surroundings and be able to react quickly should something happen.