Driving at night is not for the faint of heart. With shorter daylight hours, many motorists may feel familiar navigating the roadways in the dark. However, they may not know the hidden dangers of nighttime driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle accident fatalities increase during nighttime hours and spike on Saturday nights. It is critical for everyone to know how to drive safely at night to minimize the risk of a fatal accident.
Not only is it more difficult for drivers to see objects in their direct line of vision, but the lack of natural light affects motorists’ peripheral vision and color recognition and depth perception. For example, drivers may not be able to tell the distance and speed of oncoming traffic when making a turn.
Night blindness can affect people’s ability to drive without natural light as well, according to healthline.com. Furthermore, headlight glare can create a dangerous situation for many drivers. Looking directly into the bright headlights of oncoming traffic may result in temporary blindness. Drivers may be slower to respond to objects in the road, bad weather conditions and other drivers.
Older drivers with visual conditions may have a harder time driving at night. Conditions, such as macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and other degenerative eye disorders. According to the National Safety Council, drivers 50 years and older need at least double the amount of light 30-years-old drivers require to see well in the dark. It is critical that older drivers and motorists with eye conditions have their eyes checked regularly to ensure they are able to drive safely.
There are several steps motorists can take to minimize the chance of becoming injured or killed in a nighttime car accident.