Car Crashes Caused by Night Driving

person driving at night

While we only do one quarter of our driving at night, half of all fatal traffic accidents happen during nighttime hours. Even if the road is familiar, driving at night is more dangerous than driving during daytime, the National Safety Council and multiple other safe driving advocates say.

In addition to the darkness reducing our ability to see, nighttime glare from oncoming headlights reduces seeing distance and slows drivers’ recognition of traffic hazards as their vision recovers. Drivers are more likely to be fatigued or drowsy at night and more likely to have consumed alcohol than at other times of the day.

Kraft & Associates, P.C., can help if you have been injured in a nighttime traffic accident caused by another driver in the Dallas, Texas, area. The time of day the accident occurred may help us identify an at-fault driver’s responsibility for the crash, which can lead to recovery of compensation for your losses.

Our experienced Dallas car accident attorneys can investigate your accident and advise you about a potential legal claim. We’re an established and professional law firm with friendly lawyers and staff. Please call us at (214) 999-9999 or contact us online to set up a free legal consultation.

Challenges and Risks of Night Driving

It is well understood that it is harder to see when driving in the dark. Human eyes need time to fully adapt to darkness and reach their optimal sensitivity to low light conditions. Because the quickest gains in vision sensitivity are made in the first few minutes after exposure to darkness, many people erroneously think their eyes have reached peak sensitivity far sooner than is possible.

Depth perception and peripheral vision can also be compromised in the dark, and the glare of headlights from oncoming vehicles can temporarily blind a driver.

The danger is obvious if we think about not seeing and therefore having a delayed reaction to a pedestrian or cyclist entering the roadway, an oncoming vehicle crossing the centerline, or a sharp turn in the road that causes the car ahead to swerve across lanes or come to a stop.

Nighttime and darkness compound other driving hazards:

  • Rush hour traffic. One saving grace of nighttime driving is that fewer cars are on the road later at night. But this is only after rush hour (4 to 7 p.m.) concludes. In spring and fall, the evening commute takes place just as it begins to get dark and with the sun positioned in the sky to cause maximum glare. During winter, it is dark during bumper-to-bumper rush-hour traffic. Any time there is heavy traffic at night the potential for an accident increases.
  • Drowsy drivers. A driver who has completed a long workday or who, like many Americans, regularly gets too little sleep, will already have slower physical and mental reaction times due to fatigue. Tired drivers are three times as likely to be in a car crash as alert drivers. Darkness not only reduces the field of vision but is conducive to sleep.
  • Impaired driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that of 10,511 fatalities in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes in 2018, 69% involved night driving accidents. The National Safety Council says impaired drivers are most frequently on the road after dark – particularly between the hours of midnight and 3 a.m. on weekends, according to nighttime driving accident statistics.
  • Aggressive driving. Speeding, tailgating, frequent lane changes and other acts of aggressive driving become more dangerous as vision is reduced by darkness and glare. Speeding, in particular, gives drivers less opportunity to react in dangerous situations and decreases the effectiveness of braking or swerving to avoid a collision.

Night Driving Hazardous for Teens and Older Drivers

If the other driver involved in a nighttime driving accident that injured you was a teenager or aged 40 or older, the night’s darkness may have contributed to the crash.

Texas, like many states, restricts nighttime driving by 16- and 17-year-old drivers. Newly licensed drivers are less likely to deal effectively with the complications of nighttime driving.

The NHTSA says drivers age 17 to 23 are more likely to drive while fatigued and that about a quarter of teenage car accident fatalities involve an underage driver who has been drinking. Male teens are more likely than other drivers to speed. Many teens do not get enough sleep at a stage in life when their biological need for sleep increases, which makes them vulnerable to the risk of drowsy-driving crashes.

“Teen drivers have a higher rate of fatal crashes, mainly because of their immaturity, lack of skills, and lack of experience,” the NHTSA says. “They speed, they make mistakes, and they get distracted easily – especially if their friends are in the car.”

Diminished night vision is one of the most common problems of the aging eye, says a Harvard Medical School report. “Rare is the person who, starting around age 40, doesn’t dread driving at night,” the report says.

Age-related macular degeneration is a common loss of vision caused by dysfunction of the macula, the area in the middle of the retina that makes possible the sharp central vision needed for such everyday activities as driving, reading and recognizing faces and colors.

Older eyes also have difficulty adjusting back and forth between light that is suddenly very bright and then dim again, such as adjusting to relative darkness after absorbing the brightness of headlights on an oncoming car.

An NHTSA study of nighttime glare and older drivers concluded that “relative to younger drivers, older drivers tend to be affected more by nighttime glare. The reasons for this increased susceptibility are increased light scatter in the eye, less light entering the eye, and neurological damage to the retina. Combined, these factors make nighttime driving more difficult for typical older drivers.”

In November 2018, the Texas Health and Human Services Aging Texas Well Advisory Committee reported that the population of Texas is continuing to age, and the prevalence of visual impairments increases with age. The committee said the state faces a growing number of older adults for whom visual impairment can present daily challenges to their ability to live independently.

An estimated 261,000 Texans aged 65 and older report vision difficulties, the committee’s report says. In 2016, 8.1% of all Texan adults over the age of 65, or 243,000 people, reported either being blind or having trouble seeing while wearing corrective lenses. The state’s rate of visual impairment is higher than that of the United States as a whole, where 6.2% of the older adult U.S. population has a visual impairment.

Liability for Nighttime Car Accidents in Dallas

If you or a family member has been injured in a car accident at night, you should seek legal advice before discussing the matter with an insurance adjuster and before signing any insurance settlement agreements. There may be factors related to the timing of the accident that indicate you deserve compensation. But it may be difficult to secure a reasonable settlement without legal assistance.

Let the law offices of Kraft & Associates, P.C., investigate your night driving accident and build a case for full compensation. Car accident personal injury claims are based not only on violations of traffic laws but also on drivers failing to act in a reasonably prudent manner under the circumstances. It’s possible that the driver who hit you in a nighttime driving accident knew or should have known that he or she had no business being on the road.

As your attorneys, we will compile evidence to show the other driver’s fault for the nighttime accident, as well the costs and losses you have suffered from your injuries. We will negotiate aggressively with applicable insurance companies to obtain the compensation you deserve. Most nighttime car accident claims are settled through negotiations that persuade the insurer to offer a proper settlement and avoid litigation in court. When necessary, our firm is prepared to expend the resources and time needed to pursue nighttime accident cases in court.

Contact Our Dallas Car Accident Lawyers

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a nighttime driving accident caused by someone else’s negligence, speak with an experienced Dallas car accident attorney to ensure that your legal rights are protected. Please phone Kraft & Associates, P.C., at (214) 999-9999 or complete our online form to schedule your free legal consultation today.