Early Dark Increases Risk of Nighttime Driving Accidents in Carolinas

The risk of a car accident is greatly increased at night compared to day driving, a report on ScienceDaily.com reveals that new headlight technology could increase safety at night.


Our Charlotte car accident attorneys are aware that nighttime driving presents significant dangers, as winter approaches and the sun goes down earlier, those risks increase.

Research on the statistics and causes of nighttime driving accidents suggest a variety of reasons for the increased risk.

The nighttime crash rate is three or four times the crash rate during the day. A large number of crashes at night are single-vehicle crashes where the driver has run off the road.

These crashes are caused by the driver’s inability to recognize delineation or outlines of the roadway. A loss of visibility may contribute to crashes involving pedestrians as well.

Adverse weather conditions may further complicate nighttime driving by making it very difficult to see markings on the pavement. A small amount of snow, ice, or water may completely hide pavement markings.

Two common techniques to combat the dangers of nighttime driving are retroreflective materials and fixed roadway lighting.

Retroreflective materials are applied to pavement markings and traffic signs to cause illumination when an external light hits them. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) requires markings and signs contain treatments that reflect light or light up on their own.

A second effective way to reduce nighttime crashes is the presence of fixed roadway lighting. Long-term research projects have helped researches investigate identify the appropriate degrees of luminance, illuminance, and uniformity of lighting.

Research of fixed roadway lighting also reveals that vertical lighting is a more effective way to illuminate a pedestrian at a cross walk than horizontal lighting. Vertical lighting allows a pedestrian to appear bright against a dark background.

Unfortunately, even though the importance of reflective signs and fixed roadway lighting are known – many roadways fail to incorporate these safety features.

Studies show that many roadways in the United States do not have sufficient roadway lighting. The fact is a large number of local and state governments have difficulty paying for the installation and operation of roadway lighting.

The lack of roadway lighting combined with the round-the-clock economy mean that dark driving will not go away but will likely increase. Nighttime driving without roadway lights means that proper headlights become an increasingly important aspect of nighttime driving safety.

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) is in the process of evaluating new headlight technology and methods in an attempt to improve nighttime driving.

The technology attempts to turn or bed headlights around roadway curves. Research suggests that traditional low-beam headlights lead to a four percent reduction in nighttime crashes on sharp curves at low speed. The goal is to enhance headlight effectiveness.

Another technology allows drivers to selectively dim only a portion of their high beams when oncoming drivers approach. This allows a driver to maintain the increased visibility that high beams provide while simultaneously not blinding oncoming drivers.

The adaptive high beam technology could reduce nighttime crashes by as much as seven percent relative to traditional low beam headlights.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.

More Blogs:

Carolina Traffic Accidents a Significant Risk Heading into Holidays, October 19, 2013, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog

North Carolina Loses Federal Distracted Driving Grant Money, North Carolina Accident Lawyers Blog, October 6, 2013

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