Now that summer is over and Daylight Savings Time is about to end, many of us will find ourselves spending more time driving when it's dark outside. However, driving after the sun goes down presents several hazards.
According to a study by the National Safety Council (NSC), the rate of traffic-accident fatalities is three times higher during the evenings compared to during the day. Although night driving increases the risk of a collision for all motorists, it is even higher for young inexperienced drivers.
The following are several reasons why driving after dark can be dangerous:
- Compromised visibility – It is obvious that it is more difficult to see at night. Without the sun's rays, it is harder to see other drivers, pedestrians, traffic signals, road signs, and other objects around the road. Additionally, the older we get, the more difficult it is to see at night. When driving in the dark, increase your distance between yourself and other vehicles and drive slower than usual to better anticipate road conditions.
- Rush hour – While rush hour is already hazardous due to congested roadways and aggressive drivers, it is even more dangerous when it is dark between the hours of four and seven in the evening on the weekdays. Remember to be patient—especially around reckless motorists—and stay in your lane.
- Drunk drivers – Driving is not a good idea when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As people leave bars and restaurants in the evening, the risk of sharing the road with intoxicated motorists increase significantly. Always drive defensively, signal your intentions on the road as clearly as possible, and expect the unexpected from those you share the road with.
- Drowsy drivers – Sleep-deprived motorists are responsible for thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of injuries every year in the United States. The truth is fatigued driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. To avoid driving while drowsy, get at least seven hours of sleep at night. If you are bound for a long road trip over the holidays, either take nap breaks or allow one of your passengers to take driving duties.