The Challenges of Driving at Night Can Lead to Accidents
I’m Ed Smith, a Fresno car accident lawyer. Winter is on its way, which means that more drivers will be on the road after dark. That means that more people will be driving in the dark as compared with summer hours when the sun rises earlier and sets later in the day. Learning what precautions to take to make it safely to work and back home again is important. The following driving tips and reasons for accidents after dark can help.
A report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 49 percent of all accident fatalities occur after dark. Considering that one-quarter of all driving occurs at these times, this translates into a motor vehicle fatality rate that is three times higher than daytime driving. Risk factors associated with nighttime driving and tips to make driving safer can help lower the risk of accidents and resulting injuries and fatalities.
According to NHTSA statistics in a study, in 64 percent of the accident fatalities that occurred after dark, passengers in the vehicle were not using seat belts. Ensuring that you and your passengers are wearing safety restraints at all times may not help you avoid an accident. However, it can help avoid more serious injuries if you are in a crash.
Drunk driving and alcohol consumption in general were more prevalent at night and are factors that can contribute to a crash. Over half of those in crashes resulting in a fatality exhibited a BAC level of 0.08 percent or higher, while 60 percent showed some level of alcohol consumption. Not drinking and driving, having a designated driver or calling a taxi can make a difference.
Drowsy Driving as a Factor
The Sleep Center at UCLA states that at least 100,000 accidents each year can be attributed to drowsy driving. The result of these crashes are about 40,000 injuries per year and 1,500 preventable deaths. However, getting an actual count of accidents caused by drowsy drivers would be difficult to compile, and it could be much higher. Many instances of drowsy driving causing an accident are recognized by the lack of skid marks, showing that the driver made no attempt to stop. Some of the reasons for drowsy driving accidents are as follows:
- Lack of sleep
- Driving alone
- Driving between 1:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m.
- Sleep disorders that are untreated such as sleep apnea
- Medications that cause drowsiness
The AAA Foundation reports that episodes of distracted driving can average 27 seconds. Avoiding distractions such as texting, fiddling with the radio, eating in the vehicle while driving and overly accessing GPS can lower the risk of an accident.
Driving at night, of course, requires the use of the vehicle’s exterior lights and dashboard lights. One problem can be that the headlights may not be aimed correctly, and this may happen even in a new vehicle. The owner’s manual will have instructions on how to correctly aim the headlights. Older vehicles may have foggy headlight covers, or the bulbs can dim over time. Replacing the headlight bulbs and using a polish kit to improve visibility may help. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted tests on headlights to show how incorrectly aimed headlights can affect a driver’s vision of the road ahead.
Fresno Car Accident Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Fresno car accident lawyer. Taking extra precautions when driving at night can help avoid accidents, but in some instances, an accident may be unavoidable and due to another driver’s negligence. If you have been hurt in a collision caused by someone else, call (559) 377-7676 or long-distance at (800) 404-5400 for my courteous and friendly, free advice. You can also reach me on our contact page at autoaccident.com.
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I am honored to have served the citizens of Fresno and Northern California since 1982 as an injury lawyer. Throughout the years, I have represented numerous victims of traumatic injury or in wrongful death claims to obtain the compensation they need and deserve.
Photo Attribution: https://pixabay.com/en/lights-night-road-long-exposure-2773056/
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