Shorter days, fatigue, compromised vision, rush hour, holiday traffic and impaired driving all contribute to making driving at night more dangerous this time of year compared to any other. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, the risk for fatal crashes is three times higher at night.
Now with the end of Daylight Savings time, we’re all finding ourselves spending a little bit more time in the dark. And with nighttime driving, your depth perception and vision is compromised by the glare of headlights and your dark surroundings.
Did you know that your visibility is limited to about 250 feet with your normal headlights on? With that limited field of vision, this time of year creates less time for you to react to something on the road, especially when you’re traveling at high speeds.
So what can you do combat the darkness?
- Aim your headlights correctly and clean them
- Eliminate interior lights in your vehicle
- Clean your windshield
- Slow down
The above are just a few things you can do in low light conditions, but as we age, we have greater difficulty seeing at night despite any precautions you might take. In fact, a 50-year-old driver may need twice as much light to see well as a 30-year-old. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to do the following:
- Have an annual eye exam
- Reduce your speed
- Minimize distractions inside the car
- Limit night time driving, if possible
Lastly, rush hour takes on a completely different meaning this time of year as the holiday season descends upon us. Normal rush hour between about 4 and 7 p.m. weekdays on any South Florida road is bad enough, but things get ratcheted up when you throw the holidays into the mix. Plus it’s winter, so it’s dark during rush hour, which can compound an already dangerous driving situation. So what can you do?
- Don’t be impatient
- Slow down
- Stay in your lane and be aware of other drivers darting back and forth
- Even though your route is familiar, don’t drive on autopilot
- Put your phone down until you get where you’re going
By taking extra precautions, we can call stay a little bit safer on the roads this time of year. If you or someone you care about has been injured or involved in traffic accident across South Florida and Southwest Florida, contact the Miami accident lawyers and Naples personal injury attorneys at Weinstein & Cohen at 239-793-3331 or 305-374-1011, or visit fairnessforall, for an absolutely free and confidential legal consultation to learn more about your options.