Constantly changing conditions, such as the weather or the amount of traffic on the road, can affect your risk of a motor vehicle accident. There are specific hazards associated with driving at night.
With autumn comes the end of Daylight Savings Time. Fewer daylight hours mean that your daily commute is more likely to take place before sunrise or after sunset. The National Safety Council describes some of the specific dangers you might encounter while driving after dark.
Driver fatigue is responsible for approximately 100,000 crashes reported to authorities. Over one-third of all drivers admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel at some point in their lives, demonstrating that this is a common problem. Your own fatigue or another driver could cause an accident.
While there is little you can do about other drivers’ fatigue, you can control your own by getting at least seven hours of sleep per night and stopping to rest every two hours during a long drive. If you have been awake for at least 16 hours, refrain from driving at all until you have a chance to sleep.
Driving late at night increases the risk of encountering drivers impaired by alcohol or other substances. This is especially true on weekends between midnight and 3:00 a.m. These days, you are more likely to encounter a driver under the influence of drugs as these numbers have increased even as the number of drunk drivers has declined.
As with drowsy driving, there is little you can do about other drivers’ impairment. Therefore, you must stay sober and alert so you can react quickly to the erratic behavior of others.
Compromised night vision
As you get older, your ability to see well in low-light conditions decreases. Regular eye exams can identify any changes in your eye that might affect your driving. Minimizing distractions and reducing your speed can help compensate for compromised night vision.
It may not be possible to avoid driving in the dark during fall and winter. However, you can adapt your habits for improved safety.