Driving at night creates a higher risk of getting in a car accident. According to the National Safety Council, vehicle death rates at night are three times higher than during the day. Despite the fact that there is less traffic on the roads after dusk, more than half of all traffic deaths nationwide happen at night.
In 2011, there were approximately 50,000 motor vehicle deaths in the U.S. 62% or 31,000 people died during the night. Drivers in the 15 to 24 age bracket and the 75+ age bracket were most at risk. Fatal teen nighttime crashes are most prevalent between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Night driving requires experience, and most teenagers do not have the sufficient skills. Senior drivers are also vulnerable to crashes because of health issues and other age-related problems which lead to poor vision and decline in motor function. Night driving increases during the holiday season, especially in the months of July and August as drivers often hang out with friends or attend social gatherings.
What cause nighttime accidents?
Major causes of night driving fatalities include: poor visibility, intoxication, defective headlights, defective rear lights, fog and driver fatigue. In Kentucky, there were 1,500 driver fatigue-related crashes in 2011. These resulted in 18 fatalities and 759 injuries. Drivers experiencing fatigue can cause fatal car accidents as their hand-eye coordination and accuracy are reduced. State police revealed that a fatigued driver can be just as dangerous as impaired drivers, especially if they have been awake for 24 straight hours.
Night driving safety tips
With more Kentucky accidents happening during the night than any other time of the day, it is important to observe night driving safety tips. The more you drive at night, the more you should be careful to avoid an auto accident. Here are some safety tips:
- Make sure all your car lights are working. Regularly check your headlights, taillights and signal lights.
- Protect your windshield and windows and keep them clean. A clean windshield can perform in all weather conditions but a dirty one would not be of help.
- Don’t drive too fast. Driving too fast can lead to deadly consequences. You can’t see objects on the road very easily because you can only see as far as your headlights allow.
- Stay focused. Pay attention to the road. Your vision is not as good as it is during the day, so you must take extra precaution.
- Stop or rest. If you feel tired, or you are starting to feel sleepy, stop or take a rest. Doing so may provide the energy you need in order to get home safely.
There are risks and dangers associated with night driving. We already mentioned that vision is a big factor. It's also important to note that there are many animals active at night as well. One such animal is a deer. Deer can leap out in front of your car without any warning. They can cause major damage to both you and your car. To make matters worse, Kentucky ranks very high for vehicle-deer accidents. If you're driving at night, please take your time, obey the law, be observant and drive safely.