New Jersey roadways are filled with vehicles, motorcycles and large trucks, even after the sun has set for the day. While you may feel comfortable navigating the roadways at night, you may not understand the dangers of nighttime driving. 

According to AAA, the risk of dying in a catastrophic car accident increases by three times by driving at night compared to driving during the day. Some people do not take this risk seriously, and may engage in behaviors that could increase this risk even more. It often helps to understand what these risks entail so you can minimize your chances of becoming injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident. 

Visual impairments  

While headlights and street lamps illuminate roadways at night, the lack of natural sunlight makes it difficult for people to see. Low light levels cause decreased central vision, peripheral vision and color perception. For example, drivers may have difficulties judging the distance and speed of oncoming vehicles. 

Seeing in the dark is also more difficult for people over the age of 60 years, as they require three times more light than younger drivers. Headlight blindness occurs when drivers look directly into oncoming headlights. This can result in temporary blindness. Drivers may be slow to respond to hazards in the road, animals, pedestrians, bicyclists and traffic signs. 

In addition to visual difficulties, nighttime comes with other risks, such as more drunk and drowsy drivers as well. 

Making sure you are safe 

There are things you can do to stay safe while driving at night. These include the following: 

  • Make sure headlights and other lights work properly  
  • Never drive while drowsy or fatigued 
  • Avoid all distractions, such as using your cellphone, talking to passengers or eating 
  • Do not stare directly into bright, oncoming headlights 
  • Reduce speed 

Make sure to stay on the lookout for others and remain cautious. You can help everyone to stay safe on the road at night.