Even after the sun sets in Virginia, thousands of cars, trucks and motorcycles fill the roads. Whether people are coming home from work or heading out for a night on the town, they are still using the roadways to get where they need to go. According to the National Safety Council, people are three times more likely to get into a fatal car accident when driving at night than they are during daylight hours. So, what causes this increased accident rate and what can people do to avoid becoming involved in a catastrophic collision?

A lack of natural light can make driving more difficult. Although the streets may be illuminated with street lights and headlights, the eyes do not operate as well under these conditions. When making a turn out into traffic, it is harder to judge the distance and speed of an oncoming vehicle when it is dark. The lack of light also affects drivers’ peripheral vision. It is best to wait until no cars are coming before turning out into traffic.

The bright headlights from oncoming cars can also cause a type of blindness. Drivers should avoid looking directly into these headlights, as it can decrease their vision for several seconds afterwards. All of these factors can be especially difficult for older drivers, as their eyes are unable to accommodate as well over time.

Increased construction activity and a rise in the number of drunk drivers on the roads can cause problems for night drivers as well. Motorists should drive at reduced speeds and remain on alert to minimize their risk of getting into an accident.