Staying safe when driving at night

With the end of Daylight Saving Time, drivers in Texas may find themselves commuting home in the dark. Unfortunately, this brings certain challenges as statistics show that 50 percent of all traffic deaths occur at night. The following is a brief summary of those challenges.

The nighttime can compromise depth perception, color identification and peripheral vision as well as night vision. The latter grows worse with age, which is why a 60-year-old may require twice as much light on the road as a 30-year-old. Even with high-beam headlights, which extend about 500 feet, the darkness gives drivers less time to react. To stay safe, drivers should slow down. In addition, it’s important that headlights be aimed correctly and windshields stay clean.

A National Sleep Foundation poll found that 103 million people have fallen asleep behind the wheel. Of those, 13 percent say they do so at least once a month. Ideally, drivers should sleep seven to nine hours night. On long trips, they should take a break every two hours.

Drug and alcohol impairment is another issue that crops up at night. Impaired drivers most frequently appear between midnight and 3 a.m. on weekends. Evening rush hour, generally between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., becomes dangerous too, but drivers can avoid accidents if they stay alert and avoid distracting activities like texting or eating.

When a drowsy, distracted or impaired driver causes a car accident, their auto insurance provider may have to pay out for the other party’s injuries and vehicle damage. A victim can seek compensation through a personal injury claim, but they might want a lawyer to assist because auto insurance companies can be aggressive in denying settlements.