Nighttime Driving: Is It Always Safe?

There are nearly 13 million people living in Illinois, and of those, nearly three million people call Chicago home. That is a big population for a relatively small geographic area, meaning everything from our restaurants to our trains to our streets are crowded. A big city also means that something is happening at all hours of the day and night, leading people to move about in the early morning hours and even late into the evening.

As a result, Chicago residents often must drive in the dark. Most do so without a second thought, turning on their headlights and proceeding on their way. Few realize that simply being on the roadway when it is dark outside makes you more likely to be the victim of a car accident than you would be during the day, even if you operate your vehicle in a safe and reasonable manner.

Night hours bring a perfect storm of threats to drivers. The late hours mean that motorists are more likely to be tired or sleepy behind the wheel and that their reaction times will be slower as a result. Plus, the absence of sunlight has been proven to negatively impact depth perception, color perception, and a driver’s peripheral vision, meaning a decreased ability to perceive changing traffic conditions and obstacles that are oncoming.

If you need to drive at night, consider these following tips to stay as safe as possible:

  • Use Your Lights: Make sure your headlights, taillights, and brake lights are all in proper working order and clear any obstructions that may be in their way. If necessary, replace any loose or burned out bulbs so that you can see the road in front of you and other drivers can see your car.
  • Avoid Distractions: It is never a good idea to use a cell phone while driving but the risks only increase when darkness descends. Though you may be tempted to send a quick text, hold off from cell phone use until you have parked your car somewhere safe. The time it takes to use a cell phone will take your attention away from the roadway, and in that time, an object or hazard could appear in the street. Drivers have less time to react in the night to changing conditions because of a decreased visual field so being distracted while driving is more likely to cause a crash at night.
  • Stop If You Get Tired: It is natural to feel tired during the night and even drivers who start a trip feeling fully awake may find themselves to be sleepy before long. If you notice that you are getting tired, do not continue to drive. Instead, consider stopping and taking a quick nap to give you the energy and to make you alert enough to finish your trip.
  • Never Drink and Drive: Drunk drivers are on the roadways at all hours of the day but several studies indicate they make up a greater percentage of drivers during dark hours. Avoid being one of these motorists who threatens the safety of others by refraining from drinking and driving at all times.

If you are involved in a car accident that happens at night, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your damages and for any suffering you are forced to endure. If you are unsure of your rights or have questions about how you can proceed, know that the personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. offer a case consultation without cost or obligation to those who contact us toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575 where we have a licensed lawyer standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

At Abels & Annes, P.C., we never charge our clients a fee unless we make a recovery on their behalves and we advance all case-related expenses. If we can help you, call us today and we will put our experience to work, fighting for your rights.

Prior Blog Entry:

Chicago Bus Accidents: Why They Happen and What You Can Do, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published March 14, 2016.

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