Yesterday marked the end of Daylight Savings Time. Though we gained an extra hour of sleep (and an extra hour of our weekend), most of us now commute to and from work in the dark. As we trade in shorter days for longer nights, certain driving risks become more prevalent.
Driving in the dark is riskier than driving in the daylight. The National Safety Council concluded that three times as many traffic fatalities occur at night than during the day. Even when high beams are utilized, driver visibility is limited to 500 feet- leaving less time to react to obstacles. Glare from interior lights and other vehicles’ headlights obscure visibility. With age, night blindness affects the driver’s ability to see the road. The NSC estimates that a 50-year-old driver needs twice as much light to see as well as the average 30-year-old driver.
The end of Daylight Savings Time also disturbs our internal clocks. Our bodies are accustomed to waking up when it is light and sleeping when it is dark. When the clocks change and our bodies begin to adjust to starting and finishing our workdays in the dark, many people tend to feel drowsy more often.
Drowsy driving is a serious hazard to the driver and others on the roadway. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of drowsy drivers each year. Driver fatigue is to blame for 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses.
You may not be able to control other drivers on the roadway. However, there are certain measures that you can take to reduce your chances of being involved in a night time crash.
- Make sure that your headlights and brake lights are in working order.
- Regularly clean your headlights and double check to ensure the headlights are aimed correctly.
- Do not rely on your daytime running lights. Take the time to see if the proper lights are turned on.
- Be extra cautious- because twilight comes earlier, other drivers may forget to engage their lights due to force of habit. Be a vigilante driver.
- Dim your interior lights to reduce glare.
- Divert your gaze from oncoming vehicles’ lights.
- Utilize the day-night switch on your rear view mirror.
- Regularly clean your windshield of smudges and streaks to prevent vision obstruction.
- Wear anti-reflective eyeglasses.
- Increase following distance between your vehicle and others.
- Reduce speed.
- Do not drive drowsy.
If You Are Involved in a Crash
Even after taking the proper precautionary measures, accidents do happen. If you are involved in a crash, the first thing that you should do is check on the safety of all passengers in your car and the other car involved. If anyone appears injured, call 911 immediately and report an emergency. If not, exchange insurance information with the other driver. Take pictures of the car accident and any possible damages to both vehicles. Then, contact the police to report the accident. It is extremely important to stay on the scene until the police inform you that it is okay for you to leave.
After that, call the attorneys at Rehmeyer & Allatt. We can help you navigate the process of receiving compensation for your damages or for any damages you may have caused. 814-343-0453