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5 major risks that come with nighttime driving

On Behalf of | Nov 7, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

You can get into a car crash at any time of day, but crash statistics make it clear that the night is a more dangerous time to drive than the day. Once the sun sets, the possibility of a collision increases.

In fact, the National Safety Council (NSC) openly declares that the dark hours are the most dangerous time to be on the road. There are many issues that help contribute to the collision risk you have after dark, but the five issues below are arguably the most concerning.

Drowsiness in yourself and others

Fatigue is a huge concern once the sun sets. The human body naturally changes its internal chemistry when it is dark to facilitate rest rather than to promote alertness. Drivers are more likely to doze off after dark, and extreme fatigue resulting from many hours without sleep could affect everything from their response time to their decision-making ability.

Drunk drivers

Many people have a few drinks after a long day at work or a fight with their spouse and then drive home. Concerts and parties get done late at night, leaving participants to navigate the roads after possibly overindulging. Impaired drivers are a major issue on the road late at night.

Decreased visibility

Unless you drive solely in urban areas that are illuminated all night, there will be visibility issues when you drive in the dark. On rural roads without any artificial lighting, there may be nothing but your headlights in front of you on an overcast night. Drivers who can’t see their surroundings can end up going off the road or miss someone approaching them with their headlights off.

Inclement weather

Storms can be dangerous enough to navigate in the light of day, but when they blow up during the darker hours, they can cause a lot of risk. From colder temperatures making precipitation more likely to freeze to strong winds, there are many ways in which storms during the night can put people at risk.

Animal activity

There are some wild animals that are quite active late at night and many others who are out and about most frequently during the crepuscular hours of twilight and dawn. Encountering animals on an empty road late at night can lead a driver to do something dangerous, like swerving off the road.

Although you obviously can’t avoid driving after dark all the time, you can better protect yourself on the nighttime roads when you recognize the biggest risk factors. Avoiding a motor vehicle collision often requires first identifying what puts you at risk for a wreck.