December 21st is the shortest day of the year. And until spring arrives, many California motorists will spend more time driving in the dark.
That’s why it’s important to understand the risks associated with nighttime driving and what you can do if you find yourself in a car wreck.
Limited visibility, less reaction time
Nighttime driving brings limited visibility, especially in areas that lack street lights. Other environmental factors, such as rain and fog can hinder drivers’ visibility even more.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), with regular headlight use, drivers typically have a visibility range of up to 250 feet. When high-beams are used, visibility can increase up to 500 feet. For those over the age of 60, this can be especially problematic, as eyesight usually declines with age.
Increased risk of drowsy driving
Drivers are more likely to fall asleep at the wheel during nighttime hours. This is because the lack of sunlight has an effect on the body’s natural clock, also known as the circadian rhythm. An increase in darkness can result in the release of the sleep hormone melatonin.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving accidents occur most often between midnight and 6 a.m. and are especially likely to happen on rural roads. In 2017, tired driving was responsible for 795 deaths across the United States.
Dangerous driving habits
The environmental factors of nighttime driving already increase the chances of a crash occurring. However, the habits of negligent drivers can put other road users in danger. These include:
- Tailgating: Following too close behind increases the risk of causing a rear-end collision. Moreover, the headlights of a tail-gating driver can create visibility problems for other drivers who become nervous. Drivers are expected to maintain a safe following distance, especially during nighttime hours.
- Negligent use of high beams: High beams should only be used to help drivers see in extremely dark conditions when no other drivers are around. When drivers use high beams negligently, they can limit visibility for other road users and be a contributing factor in a crash.
Injured in a crash? Speak to an attorney you can trust!
In the event that you or a loved one is injured in an auto accident, you may sustain serious injuries that could require months of treatment and costly medical procedures – all because of someone else’s negligence.
When filing a claim in California, you will need a highly skilled auto accident attorney on your side who will tirelessly to investigate your crash. The attorneys at Clancy & Diaz, LLP have the experience and know-how to gather crucial facts to support your claim.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free case evaluation. Justice is only one click away.