Why Are There More Motor Vehicle Accidents at Night Than By Day?

A 17-year-old Danville boy was killed in a car accident on his way home from a fishing trip last summer. The accident happened at about 9 p.m. on the night before he was to start his senior year at San Ramon Valley High. The young driver of the vehicle lost control of the car, crashing into a fence and tree on El Capitan Drive.

The prevalence of accidents at night

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that motor vehicle accidents are a primary cause of serious injury and death. In fact, the CDC found that in 2009, more than 2.3 million people required emergency room hospital treatment after a car accident. About half of all fatal traffic crashes occur at night, despite the fact that there are fewer cars on the road when the sun goes down. The rate of deadly accidents per mile is about three times higher at night.

Why is driving at night more dangerous?

Some drivers prefer nighttime driving, but most prefer daytime driving where there is greater visibility. While visibility is certainly a factor, there are many reasons for the increased risk of being in a serious accident at night:

  • Driving while impaired — There are more drunk driving accidents at night. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 55% of fatal crashes between midnight and 3 a.m. are caused by alcohol-impaired drivers.
  • Speeding — There is a greater risk of vehicles speeding at night because the roads are less crowded with traffic.
  • Distracted drivers — There is an increased likelihood of tired, drowsy and sleepy drivers at night.
  • Seatbelts — The NHTSA found that about two-thirds of people who were killed in a traffic accident at night were not wearing their seatbelts.
  • Pedestrian accidents — The poorer visibility at night contributes to a greater likelihood of accidents involving pedestrians.

A car accident at any time of day can cause serious injuries, and there are often many important questions that need to be answered. If you were badly hurt in a traffic accident, a caring and knowledgeable California car accident attorney is just a phone call away.

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