Do More Car Accidents Happen at Night?

Our Upper Marlboro Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Advocate for Safe Nighttime Driving

Motorists drive so often at night that they might not think about the added risks that come with low visibility. The human eye is certainly able to see in limited light, but it is harder for some people. About 90 percent of driver decisions are based on what we see, and not being able to see well has clear implications for safe driving. Do more car accidents happen at night, and how can we drive safer in the dark?

Does Data Prove That More Car Accidents Occur at Night?

There are fewer vehicles on the roads at night—about 60 percent—yet more than 40 percent of fatal motor vehicle accidents happen at night.

This data drives the point home:

  • The National Safety Council (NSC) claims that the most nonfatal and fatal car accidents happen from 4:00 p.m. to 7:59 p.m. However, the number of fatal car crashes spikes from 8:00 p.m. to 11:59 p.m.
  • A recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report revealed an 11 percent increase in car accidents from 6:00 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.

Those statistics are concerning but not that surprising. In addition to reduced visibility, there are other risk factors for nighttime driving.

Why Is it More Dangerous to Drive at Night?

There is less light at night, but road lights and headlights can add to the problem by creating glare. Many drivers do not have issues with that, but others do.

Another risk is the likelihood that more drunk drivers are out at night. It is common for people to head to happy hours, dinners, and parties where alcohol is served. Fatigued driving is also an issue, as people are often tired after a long day of work or running errands; when drivers are sleepy, they are less focused on the road.

You may also encounter more young drivers at night with less experience. They are more prone to being out in the evenings, socializing, or working. It takes time to get accustomed to driving at night, and they might not have the skills or take the necessary precautions.

How Can I Drive Safer at Night?

These nighttime driving tips are similar to daytime driving recommendations:

  • Plan your route ahead of time: Even if you are familiar with the route, it makes sense to enter it into a GPS before leaving when you are traveling somewhere farther. There might be an accident or other reason to alter the route; avoid poorly lit roads whenever possible.
  • Allow for proper stopping distance: Increase your following distance at night and start slowing down for traffic lights, merges, and stop signs sooner. Headlights can estimate the distance: Low beams should provide 160 feet of illumination, and high beams should give you 500 feet.
  • Keep your windows clean: Dirty windshields increase the glare of headlights and streetlights.
  • Put your dashboard lights on the low setting: Brighter dashboard lights at night might seem logical, but they make it harder to see. It creates a contrast between dark and bright, which is distracting.
  • Limit distractions: Be even more vigilant about turning on your cell phone, using do-not-disturb, and other distractions.
  • Buckle up: Always have your seatbelt on, day or night.

Our Upper Marlboro Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Advocate for Safe Nighttime Driving

Even the most conscientious drivers get into nighttime car accidents, and our experienced Upper Marlboro car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King are here to help. For a free consultation, submit our online form or call 202-331-1963. Located in Washington, D.C., Alexandria, and Falls Church, Virginia, we serve clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.