Many drivers prefer to drive at night, considering this much more relaxing due to lower traffic and sometimes simply because they want to avoid getting a fine(less police filters during the night).
Others do it to gain time and, why not , to have the next full day for other activities. With all these benefits (real or less real), driving at night involves many pitfalls.
Statistics on road accidents reveal that a third of them occur at night. If we compare the number of accidents and cars in traffic during this time the result is quite alarming. Thus, for some drivers, driving at night can be difficult and dangerous in the same time.
Road safety psychologists and doctors say many drivers have trouble seeing and navigating at night even if they are not totally aware of the problem.
Drivers who drive very well during the day may have problems, once it gets dark, failing to notice in time the various obstacles, such as vehicles coming in front, pedestrians, cyclists, carts, etc.
People who wear distance glasses can also find it difficult to drive at night.
Dangers of driving at night and how to avoid them:
It is really important to see and be seen clearly!
When driving at night, it is extremely important to be able to see, to be seen, to be able to appreciate distances and speeds correctly and, last but not least, to be rested.
Good eyesight while driving depends on a variety of factors. At night we must be able to see without dazzling brightness and reflections.
At dusk, the visibility decreases, the shadows lengthen, and the headlights light still does not have the desired effect in order to detect the various obstacles that may suddenly appear in front of the vehicle.
Regarding headlights, we must also keep in mind that the visibility is reduced at the limit of the light cone perimeter , the length of the area illuminated by the light beam in case of curves, ramp peaks or slope is greatly reduced.
Poor visibility affects depth perception, color recognition and peripheral vision
Keep in mind that at night the blindness phenomenon can occur, both because of the cars coming in front, with powerful beams, and the rear cars, which project lights in the rearview mirrors of your car.
To counteract the blinding effect of the headlights of opposite cars, it is necessary to move our sight focus to the right edge of the road and for safety, to adapt the speed.
During this time period, the distances and speeds appreciation becomes more difficult. It is advised to slow it down since the reaction time to a visual stimulus is decreased.
Also, watch out for potentially dangerous, poorly marked areas that are harder to spot at night, and driving becomes even more difficult if the road signs separating traffic directions are erased or non-existent in some cases.
If we drive in the cold season, remember that some of the most difficult driving conditions at night occur in winter, when there is blizzard or snow and, practically, there are no landmarks on which to orient ourselves.
Drive safely during the night – it is absolutely necessary to be Visible.
Use the lightings (front, rear and side) accordingly to the weather conditions. An exaggerated number of headlights and their incorrect use do nothing but blind the drivers in front.
Also, a multitude of LEDs or colored light bulbs, that make the car look like a Christmas tree, do nothing but impede the driver’s visibility, lower his perceptual field especially on wet roads.
Another problem, which can generate particularly serious effects when driving at night, is fatigue and, implicitly, falling asleep at the wheel!
Our biological clocks are set so that we naturally feel more asleep at night, regardless of our state of fatigue.
Fatigue is a complex condition, characterized by reduced alertness and decreased mental and physical performance. Fatigue is in fact a disorder of brain information processing activity and usually one of the main factors in car accidents.
If, in many situations, the driver knowingly assumes responsibility for reckless or risky behavior (overtaking, speeding, not giving priority, etc.), fatigue or falling asleep at the wheel are not voluntary actions.
The occurrence of fatigue while driving is perceived relatively late by the driver that feels a little tired. It is also known there is an adaptive reaction to ignoring this condition and continuing the activity.
Clinical tests showed that neuro-physiological fatigue occurs before the driver realizes that he is tired.
There are many who say that current legislation (referring to driving and rest time) protects drivers from problems related to fatigue and falling asleep at the wheel.
That this does not always happen is proved by accidents caused by fatigue, even though the driver had strictly followed the driving and rest schedule.
Every human being, every organism is an entity that responds differently (depending on physical and mental endurance) to the disruptive factors that lead to the onset of fatigue and stress.
The fact that, worldwide, approximately 45% of road accidents are correlated with fatigue and lack of sleep raises the question of the actual Regulation effectiveness.
Driving in a state of fatigue is as dangerous as driving after drinking alcohol, dramatically increasing reaction time.
Speed and distance decisions can also be drastically affected. Driving at high speeds covers a large distance in a really short time and even a few seconds yawn can have fatal consequences.
Driving at night requires a certain driving style and even a prior preparation. Nobody wants to get stuck in the middle of the road at night.
We advice to follow these simple steps to avoid a possible car breakdown. Better safe than sorry!
We must never forget that experience, preventive driving and constantly adapting the speed according to needs are factors that can protect drivers from the pitfalls of driving at night.