With the recent daylight savings change, we all gained an hour of sleep, but we also gained some increased risks for car accidents in Chicago and elsewhere. According to a recent podcast from Dr. Val Jones with Healthy Vision, driving during the evening hours increases our risk for an accident.
As the sun sets earlier, drivers are hitting the evening rush hour with some serious risks for an accident. According to a recent study conducted by Road and Travel Magazine, about one in every three drivers admit to having trouble seeing all or most of everything while driving in the dark.
Optometrist Dr. Cristina Schnider says that drivers who have perfect vision even suffer from drastic reduction in visibility during the evening hours. During this time, pupils enlarge and eyes wander around because there isn’t as much to focus on. Judging distance during this time is difficult because the eye typically will pull in an object to focus on. This object is usually the windshield. Unfortunately, many drivers don’t adjust their driving skills to compensation for these limitations and that’s how accidents happen.
It’s important to see and focus on what is beyond to windshield. Our Chicago car accident attorneys understand that color is more difficult to see during the nighttime, especially in your peripheral vision. Dr. Schnider says that you really only pick up motion in peripheral vision during the evening. For this reason, it’s important to scan your surroundings often. John Ulczycki of the National Safety Council also outlined the risks motorists face on our roadways at night.
Ulczycki says that reaction time and visibility is greatly reduced after dark. According to the National Safety Council, about a quarter of travel happens when it’s dark out and nearly 50 percent fatal car accidents happen at night. Ulczycki says that drivers oftentimes have a misconception of risk while driving at night. People see fewer hazards during the evening because of visibility reduction. He says that drivers don’t adjust their driving skills to compensate for this reduction.
Drivers oftentimes complain about the glare on the windshield and the affect it has on their ability to see the roadway. According to Ulczycki, you should never focus on a vehicle’s headlights. It’s important for you to look above the headlights of the oncoming car. This will help to maximize your ability to see and your ability to keep an eye on your surroundings.
Dr. Jones and Ulczycki go on to discuss the dangers that our young, teen drivers face on our roadways at night. The per mile accident rate is three times higher for teen drivers after 9:00 p.m. than during the day. This rate is so much higher because, like other drivers, they have reduced visibility at night. The difference between teen drivers and veteran drivers is that the older, more experienced drivers have dealt with this type of driving before. While they’re still at risk, these older drivers have more knowledge and experience in handling these situations.
Ulczycki urges parents to spend time with their teen drivers during nighttime driving. Start with quiet residential areas and move your way to expressways. It’s important for parents to be confident in their teen’s driving skills before unleashing them on the roadways.
It’s no secret that driving is more difficult and more dangerous during the evening hours. With the recent turn back of time, drivers are spending more time on our roadways during dark hours. Drivers are urged to be cautious, to be alert and to be safe when driving during the evening.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, the Chicago injury attorneys and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential consultations. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.
More Blog Entries:
Fatal Car Accidents in Chicago and Elsewhere Cost Residents nearly $300 Billion, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, November 11, 2011
Wicked Weather on East Coast: Warning Upcoming Winter Season and Risks for Chicago Car Accidents, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, November 1, 2011