Why is driving at night more dangerous for motorists?

There are factors that may put nighttime drivers at greater risk of being in a car accident than those during the day.

When the sun sets in Washington D.C., motorists still fill the streets. People returning home from work, school, going to dinner and running errands are navigating the roadways in the dark. Although streetlights and headlights illuminate the night sky, drivers still face a decreased ability to see clearly without the presence of natural light. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, people who drive at night are three times more likely to get killed in a car accident than those who drive during the day. What factors contribute to this nighttime driving risk?

Decreased vision

The lack of natural light makes it difficult for people to recognize road hazards and may actually decrease drivers' response time. Bad weather conditions, stop signs, pedestrian crossings, bicycles and objects in the road may become less noticeable. Furthermore, the dark can make it harder for people to judge the distance and speed of an oncoming vehicle. This may cause a car to inadvertently pull out in front of a car that is going faster than the driver thought.

Vision problems can be even more pronounced in elderly drivers, who may be afflicted with a condition that makes it hard to see in the dark. Although these drivers should have restrictions on their driver's licenses, it may not keep them off of the road.

Distracted driving

Not only is distracted driving a huge problem for motorists who are traveling during daylight hours, it can be even more devastating to those who are driving at night. When paired with distractions, such as texting and talking on cellphones, decreased vision and slower response time can be extremely hazardous. Officials encourage all motorists to put their cellphones and other distractions away while they are behind the wheel, and to keep their concentration solely on the road.

Drunk drivers

Although motorists should be cautious of drunk drivers at all times, they should be especially cautious at night. People often hit the bar for a drink after work or go out for dinner and drinks, and may be more plentiful on the roads during these nighttime hours.

Picking up the pieces

If you or a friend has been injured in an accident or you have lost a loved one as a result of another person's negligence, you may want to speak to an attorney regarding your legal rights and options. You may be eligible for compensation for your pain and suffering, as well as lost wages from work and property damage. An attorney in Washington D.C. may be able to answer your questions and could put you on the right track to recovery.