Caution is Required: Accidents at Night
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer. Those who have spent time behind the wheel have undoubtedly found that driving at night can be a significant challenge. The headlights may not illuminate the road adequately and those from passing cars may seem like blinding beacons, particularly if someone passes by with their high beams on. For this reason, a significant number of car accidents happen at night. A recent review article helped to shed some light on just how dangerous it can be to drive in the dark.
Safety Tips for Driving at Night
While it is preferable to avoid driving at night, sometimes this isn’t possible. For those that have to be on the road during the dark hours, there are several tips that should be followed to avoid auto accidents. If a collision occurs, serious traumatic injuries, such as bone fractures, could result.
Always Wear a Seat Belt
First, people should wear their seatbelt whenever they drive in a car. This is especially important for driving at night. In addition to safety in an accident, the seat belt will also help people to keep from rolling around in the car when going around tight curves. It could make the difference between taking a trip to the hospital and making it out of an accident unscathed.
Headlights are a Must
Next, everyone should use their headlights while driving in the dark. This can help to illuminate the roads and is absolutely necessary to make sure that all obstacles, such as branches and animals, are seen. If these obstacles are seen, evasive action can be taken. Any damage to the headlights should be repaired as quickly as possible.
High Beams should be Used with Caution
While headlights are important for locating animals and pedestrians, high beams should only be used when no other cars are around. High beams are useful for illuminating areas of pitch black darkness; however, they can also be blinding for other cars that are passing by. If other drivers are blinded by high beams, they will not be able to see the other cars coming down the road. This can lead to serious accidents that could include catastrophic personal injuries.
Clearly, driving at night requires some additional caution and failure to take the proper safety precautions can lead to disastrous accidents. A recent review article was written and released regarding driving at night and the risks involved in this venture.
A Review on Night Driving
While the focus in the prior sections was on the physical hazards of driving at night, the review article took a new approach and discussed the dangers of night driving from a biological perspective. This is important because it helps people to understand just exactly why their bodies struggle to see effectively at night, aside from the general lack of light.
The Circadian Rhythm
Circadian rhythm is the biological clock of the body. This explains why people get hungry at certain times of day and why they get tired at night. The circadian rhythm controls fatigue and sleep hours, making people get tired as the hour of their usual bedtime approaches. When this time is reached, their physical and cognitive performance will start to suffer. This means that their reflexes will start to slow and their judgment may become poor. For this reason, driving at night is less safe than driving during the day and circadian rhythm is something to keep mind.
The paper also conducted a literature review of individuals who conduct routine tasks as part of their occupation. They took a look at their task performance at varying hours of the day and found that those who performed tasks during the day were more accurate at those tasks than those who performed the same tasks at night. They also found that the percentage of accidents and injuries related to the workplace were higher during the night hours than during the day hours.
The mechanisms leading to the results of this research study are likely tied to the same sleep and fatigue mechanisms that were issues with driving at night.
Moving Forward: Avoiding Accidents
Clearly, the levels of alertness, concentration, and focus drop when someone approaches their bedtime hour. This is tied to the circadian rhythm and supported by the evidence of research studies. Therefore, people should exercise as much caution as possible while driving at night and avoid it if at all possible. When behind the wheel, individuals should take steps to remain as alert and focused as possible. Future studies should try to expand the issues of working and driving at night to include fields that might be particularly high-stress, especially those where accidents could lead to fatal accidents and wrongful deaths. Those who have been injured while working or driving at night should consider contacting a friendly legal adviser so that a full investigation can be conducted. These accidents never have to happen and if accidents lead to serious injuries, people deserve to know about the options available to them. Do not hesitate to ask for help when needed.
Contact an Experienced Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney. Have you been seriously injured by a negligent driver? Why not reach out to me for some free, friendly suggestions and advice by calling or on my toll-free line at (800) 404-5400.
The Million Dollar Advocates Forum of the state of California has inducted me into the honored ranks of its chapter.
I encourage everyone to take a look at some of our past verdicts and settlements.
Image Attribution: The image from the top was found on Wikimedia Commons and has been used with permission of the Universal CC BY SA Attribution License, version 2.0.
:dr [cs 1063 bw] cv