Driving At Night
Traffic death rates are three
times greater at night than during the day, according to the National Safety
Council. Yet many of us are unaware of night driving's special hazards or don't
know effective ways to deal with them.
Driving at night is more of a
challenge than many people think. It's also more dangerous.
Why is night driving so
dangerous? One obvious answer is darkness. Ninety percent of a driver's reaction
depends on vision, and vision is severely limited at night. Depth perception,
color recognition, and peripheral vision are compromised after sundown.
Older drivers have even greater
difficulties seeing at night. A 50-year-old driver may need twice as much light
to see as well as a 30-year old.
Another factor adding danger to
night driving is fatigue. Drowsiness makes driving more difficult by dulling
concentration and slowing reaction time.
Alcohol is a leading factor in
fatal traffic crashes, playing a part in about half of all motor vehicle-related
deaths. That makes weekend nights more dangerous. More fatal crashes take place
on weekend nights than at any other time in the week.
Fortunately, you can take several
effective measures to minimize these after-dark dangers by preparing your car
and following special guidelines while you drive.
The National Safety Council
recommends these steps:
Observe night driving safety as soon as the sun goes down. Twilight is one of the most difficult times to drive, because your eyes are constantly changing to adapt to the growing darkness.