Hildebrand McLeod & Nelson LLP

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Identifying the increased dangers of driving at night

Cars and trucks fill the roadways of California, even after the sun sets and darkness rolls in. People are rushing home from work, running their last errands or headed out for dinner with friends and family. What many people may not know is that they are three times more likely to be killed in a car accident while driving at night than they are during daylight hours. What is the cause of this increased danger and what can be done to minimize the risk of becoming involved in a deadly motor vehicle accident?

A lack of sunlight can reduce the ability to see certain hazards that lurk on the roadways. This includes objects in the road, other vehicles, bad weather conditions, bicyclists, animals and pedestrians. Furthermore, depth perception and peripheral vision are compromised at night. It can be difficult to judge the distance and speed of an oncoming car when pulling out into traffic. This is especially true for older drivers, who do not see as well in small amounts of light. Headlight blindness can also be a problem. When drivers look directly into the bright lights of an oncoming car, they may experience temporary blindness that can make it hard to navigate alongside other vehicles for a period of time.

In addition to the darkness, there are more drunk drivers on the road at night than there are during the day. While drivers should avoid engaging in distractive driving behaviors, such as using a cellphone behind the wheel, it is even more important to avoid these behaviors at night. Motorists should have full concentration on the road so they can respond quickly if anything should happen.

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