Car accidents happen every day in Alabama. Many studies report that driving is one of the most dangerous activities that people participate in. While driving during daytime comes with a significant risk of an accident, driving at night is even more dangerous. All motorists should understand how nighttime motor vehicle accidents commonly occur and what steps motorists can take to avoid being involved in a night driving accident.
Age is a Factor in Many Night Driving Accidents
Age can be a factor in night time driving accidents. Motor vehicle drivers who are 60 years old or older often find it difficult to drive a car at night. Limited vision tends to be experienced by older drivers because the amount of light entering through the eye decreases as people age and their pupils shrink. Older individuals’ eyes do not dilate as much in the dark, and their corneas and lenses become less clear over time, causing light to scatter inside the eye.
How Visibility is Affected During Night Driving
Although there is 60% percent less vehicle traffic on Alabama’s roads at night, statistics reveal that more than 40% of all fatal car accidents occur at night. Sunlight provides the strongest source of light for motor vehicle drivers. When there is a lack of light, man-made lights can help drivers safely navigate the roadways but are not as helpful as sunlight. Although motorists’ eyes adjust to lower levels of light eventually, they still have difficulty operating properly when switching from bright light to darkness. Motorists who are night driving can experience difficulty in dealing with lower levels of the light after the motorist looks directly into the headlights of approaching vehicles. Additionally, driving just before sunrise or immediately after sunset can be particularly dangerous because the sky might be light while the road is dark, which can create substantial difficulties for motor vehicle drivers with questionable vision.
Causes of Night Driving Accidents in Alabama
In addition to vision problems, there are several common reasons why night driving accidents tend to occur. These reasons include:
- Many animals are active primarily at dusk and dawn, which creates a substantial risk that these animals will run out into the road and drivers will be left with an insufficient amount of time in which to respond.
- Many motor vehicle operators drive at night while their bodies are tired. Drivers who fall asleep at wheel are at risk of causing many types of catastrophic accidents.
- Glare can occur from dirty windshields, eyeglass difficulties, high beams, and many other reasons.
- High Beams. When drivers leave high beams on at all times, they can blind oncoming drivers and cause accidents.
- Lack of Training. Many drivers-in-training primarily learn how to drive during daylight hours. In many cases, drivers lack the proper training to operate a vehicle at night.
- Misaligned Headlights. Headlights that are not properly aligned can greatly impair a motor vehicle driver’s visibility if the driver is operating a vehicle at night.
Night Driving Safety Tips
Accidents that occur during night driving are not always preventable, but there are some important night driving safety tips that drivers should implement immediately:
- Avoid distractions. Motor vehicle drivers should make sure to put away cell phones and not fiddle with music while night driving. Individuals should also make sure to configure a GPS before driving towards a destination.
- Decrease a vehicle’s speed and increase the vehicle’s distance from other automobiles. It is much more difficult for individuals to judge vehicle speeds and distances at night. By slowing down, motor vehicle drivers can also remain alert and ready to respond to animals that dart across the road suddenly or other drivers who might stop quickly.
- Dim the instrument panel and dash lights. Dimming these lights can provide motor vehicle drivers with better vision of the road and conditions that lie ahead.
- Do not ignore fatigue. If you feel at all tired while operating a motor vehicle, stop and rest before attempting to drive again. A quick walk or snack can also prove beneficial in fighting driver fatigue.
- Reduce glare. If a motor vehicle approaches your automobile and does not turn its beams from high to low, to avoid glare use the right edge of the road as a visual steering guide.
- If you experience motor vehicle trouble while driving at night, pull off to the road as far as possible. Make sure that the vehicle’s inside and hazard lights are turned on.
- Turn on Headlights. Keep a vehicle’s headlights on one hour before dusk and one hour after dawn to improve visibility.
- Know how to respond to animals that might be encountered at night. An animal’s eyes will be reflected in a vehicle’s headlights. If drivers spot animals in the distance, it is a wise idea to slow down. If one animal is spotted, motor vehicle drivers should remember to slow down because many animals travel in groups.
- Make sure that parts of a vehicle are kept clean. If you frequently drive at night, you should be in the habit of regularly cleaning your headlights, taillights, signal lights, and windows.
- Perform regular maintenance inspections of a vehicle to make sure that all parts of the automobile are working properly.
Contact an Experienced Alabama Accident Attorney
Even if you take great efforts to be safe while driving at night, you might still find yourself involved in a motor vehicle accident caused by another driver. Our legal team has significant experience helping individuals who have been injured in night driving accidents as well as many other types of motor vehicle accidents. Contact an experienced Huntsville and Madison County personal injury attorney at Hornsby Watson & Hornsby to help you with your case.