After the sun sets in North Carolina, you may be out and about running errands, driving home from work or going out with friends. While you may be familiar with navigating the roadways at night, it is important to also be aware of the dangers that exist once the sun goes down.
According to the National Safety Council, nearly 50% of all car accident deaths occur during nighttime hours. Yet, people only spend one-quarter of their driving hours at night. Staying alert and being aware of your surroundings can help minimize your risk of becoming involved in a deadly accident.
What are the dangers?
One of the biggest hazards of nighttime driving is the lack of natural light. The absence of natural light affects your depth perception, peripheral vision and ability to determine the speed of oncoming vehicles. This is especially true if you are older, as 50-year olds need twice as much light as 30-year olds to see well.
Other hazards that occur at night include the following:
- Headlight blindness or the inability to see well after looking directly into oncoming headlights
- Drunk drivers, as there are more impaired motorists on the road at night
- Rush hour traffic
- Construction sites, as many projects take place at night
- Driver fatigue
Approximately 60% of American drivers admit they have driven while tired and a surprising 37% have fallen asleep while driving, according to a National Sleep Foundation poll.
What should you do?
There are some steps you can take to maximize your safety on the road. First, be sure that you get plenty of sleep. Avoid looking into oncoming headlights, and dim your dashboard lights. It is also important to have your eyes checked regularly. Drive slower at night and be extra cautious when it comes to turning out into traffic. Finally, never engage in activities that distract you from driving, like texting, eating using voice-activated technology.