Night driving is a common occurrence. In fact, by some estimates, we do as much as 25% of our driving during the nighttime hours. But night driving presents unique driving challenges and risks that may not be present during the day. By preparing yourself for the risks associated with night driving, you can be better prepared to avoid an auto accident. The following are some of the common night driving risks and the way that drivers can help minimize the risks.
Common Night Driving Risks
- Night driving decreases visibility, as well as speed and depth perception. Artificial lights, such as headlights, taillights, and streetlights, provide inadequate lighting and they can cast shadows and skew images so that drivers are unable to properly determine distances and speeds.
- Fatigue can delay reaction time. Lack of natural light and the late hour often creates fatigue for drivers. Fatigue can dull concentration and delay reaction time.
- Increased risk of drunk drivers on the road. Often times, drivers are on the road at night on their way home from an evening social event, which often involves alcohol consumption. Alcohol-related auto accidents can have disastrous consequences. The Illinois Department of Transportation reports that in 2009 there were 301 alcohol-related fatalities and 41% of all fatally injured drivers had a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit of 0.08.
Ways to Minimize Night Driving Risks
- Reduce speed. Not only does speeding cause motor vehicle accidents, but it often leads to fatalities. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding was a contributing factor in 31% of all fatal crashes in 2008 and 11,764 lives were lost in 2008 due to speeding-related crashes.
- Never drink and drive. Even small amounts of alcohol can affect your reaction time. Moreover, it can be difficult to know how much alcohol is in your system so it is better to play it safe and avoid driving if you have consumed alcohol during the evening. Instead, use a designated driver, call a cab, or take public transportation.
- Take frequent breaks. Artificial lights, long stretches of road, and late hours can all dull the senses and increase fatigue levels. It is important to take frequent breaks while driving at night in order to break the cycle of drowsiness.
- Avoid driving while tired or drowsy. Instead, stop at the nearest rest stop for a short nap and then resume driving.
- Avoid risky driving. Don’t take chances. Allow for extra stopping time, and allow extra space between your car and the car in front of you.
If you have been the victim of an auto accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The Chicago auto accident law firm of Ankin Law Office, LLC focuses on representing the victims of auto accidents in the full range of legal claims that they may choose to pursue. Contact our office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable Chicago auto accident attorneys.