Why You’re More Likely to Get into a Crash at Night

October 25, 2021

Many people find driving at night is stressful because it’s harder to see the road and traffic ahead of you. Louisiana already has notably dangerous roads; in recent years, the state has seen more car crashes and fatalities than the national average. 40% of accidents occur at night, even though there is 60% less traffic on the roads.

If you’ve been injured in an auto accident in Louisiana through no fault of your own, consider calling Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers. Our Louisiana car crash lawyers can help you fight for compensation to cover the cost of your medical care and lost wages resulting from your injuries.

The Most Dangerous Time to Drive

Auto accidents killed over 38,000 people in 2020 across the United States. The first quarter of 2021 saw a 10.5% increase in fatal accidents from the same quarter the year before.

Despite there being less traffic after dark, the fatality rate is three times higher for nighttime accidents. Nearly 49% of all traffic fatalities occur at night. On average, car crashes peak between 4 PM and 8 PM daily, but the timing of accidents has some seasonal variation.

In the summer, the peak time for non-fatal accidents is earlier in the day, from noon until 4 PM, while most fatal accidents occur later at night, between 8 PM and midnight. From October to March, both fatal and non-fatal accidents peak from 4 PM to 8 PM.

The day of the week affects your risk of being in an accident, too. Car crashes are more likely to occur over the weekend. Saturday is the most dangerous day of the week, followed closely by Friday night and Sunday.

Why Driving at Night is Dangerous

Several factors contribute to making nighttime driving more dangerous than traveling during daylight hours.

It’s Harder to See at Night

Drivers can’t see as far down the road once the sun sets. Their lowered visibility makes it more difficult to spot hazards ahead and avoid them. It’s also harder to see buildings, street signs, and other landmarks in the dark. Drivers at night may make sudden stops or turns while trying to stay on route or locate their destination.

If you’re driving at night, you’re also dealing with headlights from oncoming traffic. These lights shine directly into your eyes, making it harder for you to see. Your eyes need time to adjust back to the dark, and this temporary exposure to bright light impairs your vision, so you become less aware of your surroundings.

Driving While Drowsy

Drivers are more tired after a long day. It can be harder to pay attention to traffic and your response time slows down when you become fatigued. Drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving in that way! You’re also at risk of falling asleep behind the wheel and causing an accident if you’re driving while tired at night. In 2019 there were 697 deaths nationwide due to drowsy driving.

More Likely to Face Drunk Drivers

After work, people go to bars for happy hour and to restaurants for dinner. Bars and restaurants are typically busiest Friday and Saturday nights, which coincides with the days of the week that are most dangerous for driving.

Drinking too much after a long day makes you more likely to get into an accident on your way home. In Louisiana, 54% of fatal crashes at night are alcohol-related.

More Drivers Speed at Night

Drivers at night face less traffic congestion than during the day. With fewer cars on the road, drivers speed up, and can sometimes be unaware of how fast they are going because of the open roadway.

Speeding at any time of day is dangerous because it gives you less time to react to obstructions in the roadway, but it’s much more dangerous at night when visibility is reduced. Speeding is a factor in about 30% of all fatal crashes in the United States.

How to Stay Safe Driving at Night

You can lower your risk of getting into an accident at night by following a few simple tips:

  • Pay closer attention to the road and traffic in front of you at night.
  • Always use your headlights, even before it’s fully dark. This helps other drivers see you.
  • Improve your night vision by dimming your dashboard lights, turning off cabin lights, and avoid looking at oncoming headlights.
  • Minimize any distractions in your car from passengers or electronics.
  • Get enough sleep the night before traveling through the night, and take breaks if you’re feeling tired.
  • Always wear your seatbelt. Unrestrained passengers account for two-thirds of fatalities at night.
  • Reduce your speed and leave more space around other traffic. This gives you more time to avoid any hazards that appear in your path.

What to Do if You’re in a Car Accident at Night

Driving at night puts you at greater risk of getting into an accident. If you must travel after dark, take steps to mitigate your chances of a collision by staying alert, driving the speed limit, and staying sober. Despite taking precautions, accidents can happen.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you need a local attorney to help you with your case. Consider our legal team at Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers to protect your rights and help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact our Louisiana car accident lawyers today for a complimentary consultation.