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Risks of night driving

Posted in Car Accident on Thursday, February 05, 2015

In January of this year, an Illinois woman was driving late on a Saturday night. According to KMOV, she crossed the center line and struck another vehicle head-on. As a result of the incident, the driver of the other car and one of her passengers were killed, and another passenger suffered minor injuries. The Illinois woman who caused the accident was taken to a hospital in critical condition.

As any Chicago car accident lawyer knows, driving at night can be significantly more dangerous than in daylight. There are several risks motorists should try to mitigate in order to prevent a tragic incident.

Low-light conditions

The National Safety Council reports that there are three time the number of traffic deaths that stem from night driving as opposed to driving during the day. The biggest reason for this is that there is much lower visibility once the sun sets. Popular Mechanics notes low-light conditions affect drivers in a number of ways, including the following:

  • A lowered ability to distinguish color
  • Minimized depth perception skills
  • Reduced peripheral vision

As many a Chicago car accident lawyer have seen, headlights are part of the solution, but cannot prevent every incident. Popular Mechanics reports that it takes a car traveling at 60 miles an hour about 200 feet to come to a stop. High beams shine between 350 to 500 feet in front of a car, and low beams only highlight up to 250 feet in front of a car. This does not give night drivers much room for error. However, it is still recommended that drivers use headlights in any low-visibility situation.


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, only a quarter of driving takes place at night. However, more than half of deaths stemming from a traffic collision occur then. In addition to reduced visibility, drivers also tend to be more tired at night. This can affect reaction times and even lead to people falling asleep at the wheel.

Other headlights

Many vehicles today use high-intensity headlights. While these are useful in granting drivers a better view of the road, they can affect oncoming motorists. The American Automobile Association Foundation reports that these lights can temporarily blind oncoming drivers or force their eyes to have to try to adjust quicker.

Improve safety

The National Safety Council recommends that drivers make sure their headlights are clean before getting on the road at night. Additionally, motorists should always avoid drinking while driving and travel at a speed that is safe for the road conditions.

Anyone who would like to learn more about the risks of night driving or what to do following an accident should consult with a Chicago car accident lawyer.

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