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The Burkett Law Firm Blog

Nighttime Car Accidents & Safety Tips

The danger of Texas roads increases during the nighttime with higher rates of fatal car accidents.
The danger of Texas roads increases during nighttime with higher rates of fatal car accidents.

There’s no doubt that driving at night is dangerous. Although only a quarter of vehicles are on the road at night, almost 50% of the traffic deaths happen at this time. In fact, the NHTSA reports that the passenger vehicle occupant fatality rate at nighttime is three times higher than the daytime rate. But what makes driving at night so dangerous? Keep reading to discover four major causes of nighttime car accidents as well as night driving safety tips.

What makes night driving so dangerous?
Reason 1: Impaired drivers

Driving under the influence (DUI) is illegal in Corpus Christi and all of Texas. Sadly, drunk driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents at night, with most of these crashes happening on the weekends, mainly between midnight and 3 a.m. However, alcohol is not the only substance that can impair your ability to drive safely. Misused prescription medications and illegal drugs can also make it unsafe to drive. Ask your doctor about potential drug side effects that could cause dizziness, tiredness, fatigue, or other symptoms that might affect your ability to drive.

Reason 2: Fatigue
Drowsy and fatigued drivers are a major cause of deadly nighttime car accidents on Texas roads.
Drowsy and fatigued drivers are a major cause of deadly nighttime car accidents on Texas roads.

Much like driving under the influence, fatigue is another major cause of car crashes at night. Whether you are commuting home from work or are driving a long distance, you will likely feel exhausted. This, in turn, makes driving much more difficult by reducing concentration, coordination, judgment, and reaction time. 

The CDC explicitly describes the similarities between “drowsy driving” and drunk driving:

  • Being awake for at least 18 hours is the same as someone having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05%.
  • Being awake for at least 24 hours is equal to having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.10%. This is higher than the legal limit (0.08% BAC) in all U.S. states.

 

If you catch yourself feeling drowsy while driving at night, pull over safely and rest as needed. Taking breaks to divide up long drives or taking turns driving can also work to your advantage.

Reason 3: Compromised night vision

Although vehicles come with headlights and other safety features to make it easy to drive at night, the dark can significantly affect a driver’s vision. After all, headlights can only cover a limited distance (up to 500 feet), leaving you with less reaction time for safely maneuvering around obstacles on the road. Furthermore, headlights can have a counterintuitive effect as the glare of oncoming vehicles, especially those using high beams, reduces your visibility or blinds you momentarily. Unfortunately, peripheral (side) vision, color recognition, and depth perception are all impaired in the dark. Because drivers cannot see as clearly or as far at night, the chances of an accident occurring at night are often high.

Reason 4: Rushing

At night, most drivers are often in a rush to get to their homes and other destinations. As a result, it’s common to see many speeding drivers, often leading to accidents because of the dangerous combination of the above-mentioned compromised vision and reaction time. In fact, the NHTSA reported the share of all traffic fatalities involving speeding (2013-2017) in Corpus Christi as being 28.4%. Plan ahead for night time commutes to prevent rushing and give plenty of space for drivers you see speeding down the road.

Actionable safety tips to follow when driving at night

Dangerous as night driving can be, there are steps you can take to minimize the chances of getting involved in a car crash in Corpus Christi:

  • Get plenty of rest to stay awake, alert, and aware of your surroundings.
  • Understand that visibility is limited, despite the effectiveness of headlights, so reduce speed accordingly.
  • Resist the temptation to speed to give yourself more time to see and react to possible dangers.
  • Make sure your windshield is clean to eliminate streaks that will be magnified by glare and further impair your visibility.
  • Use anti-reflective lenses if you wear glasses.
  • Do not look into oncoming lights; slow down safely until the oncoming vehicle passes. Also make sure to dim your headlights appropriately for oncoming vehicles so as not to blind them.
  • Aim your headlights correctly to give maximum visibility.
  • Make sure your headlights are clean and working.
  • Limit in-vehicle distractions, especially loud music, as one of your senses is already impaired during night driving.
Contact a Corpus Christi car accident attorney

Although taking extra caution while driving at night is critical and recommended, it won’t completely eliminate the possibility of getting injured in a car accident. Fortunately, a skilled Corpus Christi car accident attorney can help you recover compensation for your injuries, especially if your nighttime car accident injuries resulted from someone else’s negligence. Contact us online or give us a call today at (361) 882-8822 for a free consultation.