Road accidents peak at nightfall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that nearly half of all traffic fatalities happen between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. There are several reasons for this increase in car accidents at night. In 2020, 43,510 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents in the United States. Of these fatalities, 52% occurred between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., even though only 25% of all vehicle miles are driven during this period.
Many people avoid driving at night, and for a good reason. It can be more dangerous to drive at night than during the day. Visibility is reduced, and tiredness can set in, making it more challenging to focus on the road. Here are some reasons you can’t drive well at night.
Poor Night Vision
Our vision naturally deteriorates as we get older, and this process is accelerated by factors like exposure to sunlight and staring at digital screens all day. As a result, many of us have difficulty seeing at night, even if we have 20/20 vision during the day. To make matters worse, our eyes need time to adjust to changes in lighting, so it can take several minutes for them to fully adjust when going from a bright area to a dim one. This is why giving yourself enough time to transition from daytime to nighttime conditions when driving is essential.
It’s not just our vision that deteriorates as we get older; our ability to focus also does. It becomes more difficult for our eyes to track moving objects, and they constrict less in response to changes in light levels. This means that when driving at night, it may be more difficult for you to stay focused on the road ahead. To compensate for this, make sure you take breaks frequently and allow your eyes to rest. And if you have difficulty seeing, don’t hesitate to pull over and relax until your vision improves.
Believe it or not, a cracked or otherwise damaged windshield can make it more difficult to see at night. The damage can cause glare and reflections that make it hard to see through the glass. In some states, driving with a broken windshield is even illegal. It can result in a ticket and a fine, and may even cause your car insurance rates to go up. The only solution here is to opt for a car windshield replacement. This will ensure that your windshield is in good condition and won’t hinder your vision while driving. It will also give you peace of mind knowing that your car is safe to drive.
Glare from Oncoming Traffic
One of the most common causes of accidents at night is glare from oncoming traffic. The brightness of headlights can temporarily blind us, making it difficult to see what’s ahead on the road. To avoid this, clean your windshield regularly and keep your headlight beams adequately aligned. It would help if you also considered investing in a pair of polarized sunglasses for nighttime driving.
Fatigue is another major factor in accidents at night. Driver fatigue is caused by many factors, including sleep deprivation, boredom, and monotony. When driving long distances at night, it’s important to take breaks every few hours so you can stretch your legs and give your mind a rest. And if you find yourself feeling sleepy, pull over immediately and find a safe place to take a nap before continuing your journey.
If you have difficulty driving at night, there are a few things you can do to make the experience safer and more comfortable. Here are a few tips:
- Clean your windshield regularly to avoid glare and reflections.
- Invest in a pair of polarized sunglasses for nighttime driving.
- Take breaks frequently to allow your eyes to rest.
- If you’re sleepy, pull over immediately and find a safe place to nap.
- See your eye doctor regularly.
- If you have vision problems, they can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
- Make sure your car’s headlights are correctly aligned.
- Consider upgrading to LED headlights, which provide a clearer view of the road ahead.
- Avoid overspeeding.
If you can avoid driving at night, do so. If you must drive at night, be extra cautious and take your time. And if you start to feel tired, pull over and rest or wait until morning to continue your journey.
The bottom line
Being able to drive is a privilege that comes with great responsibility. And when it comes to driving at night, there are several additional risks to be aware of. So if you’re planning on hitting the road after dark, take the necessary precautions to ensure a safe and comfortable journey. And if you’re ever in doubt, it’s always better to err on caution.