In just a couple short months, Daylight Saving Time will have you setting your clocks back an hour. Although many people welcome this as a time-honored tradition of fall, it can actually be incredibly dangerous for drivers. The change in time puts more people on the road when it is dark outside, which can lead to an increase in car accidents.
Although driving in the dark does limit your ability to see at great distances, there are other dangers, too. Drunk drivers, fatigued motorists and those in a hurry to get home from work all come together to create a dangerous driving environment.
Drivers do not see as well at night
You already know that your ability to see over long distances is just not as good at night as it is during the day. While cars have headlights and most roads feature prominent lighting, this might not be enough for everyone. Eyesight deteriorates with age, so someone who is approximately 50 years old will usually need about double the amount of light as a driver who is 30.
The American Optometric Association cautions that drivers start receiving annual vision exams and drive at slower speeds as they get older. If necessary, they even suggest that drivers who struggle to see properly at night limit their driving time to daytime hours only.
Dangerous drivers are everywhere
Around 60 percent of adults in the United States told the National Sleep Foundation that, at some point, they drove while tired. Although this might not seem surprising, what if you found out that many of those tired drivers go on to fall asleep behind the wheel? More than 103 million drivers have admitted to falling asleep while driving.
Aside from sleepy drivers, you may also worry about encountering drunk drivers at night. Impaired drivers -- including those under the influence of prescription or illicit drugs -- hit the road most frequently on the weekend from around midnight to 3 a.m. You are probably at risk for a serious accident if you have to be behind the wheel at these times.
What about rush hour?
Drivers frequently find themselves driving home in the dark during the fall and winter. With the reduced visibility, high occurrence of fatigued drivers and presence of impaired drivers on the road, heading home between 4 and 7 p.m. can be a dangerous affair. Even if you feel comfortable navigating the drive home at this hour, you are still at an increased risk for an accident-related injury.
Even minor car accidents can cause severe injuries. If you received an injury, had to take time off work and are now dealing with the physical, emotional and financial aftermath of a wreck, you may need compensation. For most victims in Texas, successfully pursued personal injury suits are effective for achieving just and necessary financial recourse.