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Night Driving | Traffic and Safety Updates

Sponsored by the National Road Safety Foundation

Since your ability to perceive and judge distance is severely impaired at night — the human eye requires light to see — night driving is a top cause of car accidents.  An estimated 90 percent of all driver decisions are made based on what they see. While your eyes are capable of seeing in limited light, the combination of headlights and road lights, with the darkness beyond them, can cause several problems for your vision.  Therefore, car drivers must take extra precaution to avoid an auto accident during the night.

Nighttime Car Accident Statistics

Car accident statistics are jarring at night.  Despite 60 percent less traffic on the roads, more than 40 percent of all fatal car accidents occur at night.

Sunlight provides the strongest light source.  When it goes down at night, there are a variety of man-made lights that help drivers safely navigate the roads.  Our eyes will adjust to lower levels of light (pupils dilate in darkness and constrict in brightness), but they have difficulty functioning properly when switching from bright to dark, or vice-versa.  This can happen quite a lot on the roads at night when you look directly into the headlights of oncoming traffic.

Driving either just before sunrise (dawn) or immediately after sunset (dusk) are also very dangerous time periods on the roadways, and many car accidents occur during these times.  The problem is that while the sky is still well lit, the roads begin to get dark.  This causes a disparity between light and dark and can cause vision problems for drivers.

Drunk Drivers & Drowsy Drivers More Likely at Night

Drunk drivers (DUI) are more likely to be on the road at night.  Nighttime drivers need to be vigilant, and on the look-out for these major auto accident causers.

Drowsy driving is another added danger on the roadways at night as people are generally winding down their days and growing sleepy.  Drivers that fall asleep at the wheel, or even ones that are dazed and unobservant, can cause fatal car accidents.  As safety advocates, we recommend that if you find yourself growing weary, stop at a rest stop or well-lit parking lot and take a quick nap.  Even a short nap replenishes you better than the temporary relief that you will get from caffeine, loud music or opening the windows.

Night Driving Safety Tips

  • Allow for enough distance to stop. We recommend that you gauge this distance using your headlights.  Low beams should allow you to see up to 160 feet away, while high beams should illuminate about 500 feet in front of you.  Make sure that, if and when you must brake hard, that you can brake within those distances.
  • Keep your dashboard lights at a safe low setting. Since the contrast between bright and dark will impede your vision, limiting the brightness in your car should help you see at night and avoid car accidents.
  • Keep your windshield and windows clean. Limiting the glare from other headlights is very important.  A dirty windshield will not help in this regard.
  • Limit distractions. Since your vision will not be as good as it is during the day, your reaction times will also be slower than normal.  This is why you should focus your attention on the road even more than you would other times.

There are many potential dangers that you will face on the road late at night.  As driver safety advocates, we hope that you will always drive carefully regardless of the road conditions.  These tips should help you successfully navigate the nighttime roads and reach your destination safely.  Just remember to take your time and drive safely, and you will avoid a potential wrongful death car accident.

Hours and Info

6825 Norwitch Drive
Philadelphia, PA 19153
215-365-7233
Tuesday – Friday 10AM through 6PM
Saturday – Sunday 10AM through 4PM
Closed Mondays and Major Holidays

About the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum

Located in Philadelphia, PA, the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum is one of the world’s greatest collections of racing sports cars. Through our theme, “The Spirit of Competition”, we celebrate the history and evolution of these magnificent machines.

Assembled over 50 years by Dr. Frederick Simeone, the Museum contains over 75 historically significant cars including Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, Mercedes, Jaguar, Bentley, Porsche, Aston Martin, Corvette, Ford, and more.

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