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Evening hours pose greatest risk for accidents

Motorists in New Jersey and across the United States are in greater danger of being involved in a motor vehicle accident when driving at night versus daytime driving. The National Safety Council estimates that driving at night puts drivers at three times a greater risk of being involved in an accident. When Daylight Savings Time ends each year, more people drive home from work in the dark. Because driving in the dark can alter depth perception, compromise peripheral vision and affect color recognition, this means that drivers need to take steps to be safe in the evening hours.

Headlights help drivers see the road ahead and other vehicles. Keeping them in proper working condition is critical in safe night driving. Check headlights regularly to ensure the lights are working and regularly clean them for optimal visibility. Additionally, headlights should be properly aimed to clearly show the road ahead. Unfortunately, regular headlights only provide visibility for 250 feet, and high-beam headlights only light 500 feet ahead of the vehicle. This means that drivers still can't see as well at night as during the day, so additional steps should be taken.

Glare can be reduced by wearing anti-reflective glasses. Cleaning the inside and outside of the windshield regularly will help remove any streaks that can impair vision. Leaving more distance between the vehicles when driving and slowing down to compensate for diminished visibility can also help. Drivers over the age of 60 should get eye exams at least once a year to ensure that their vision won't pose any concerns in nighttime driving.

Motor vehicle accidents can result in costly medical bills, loss of wages and even loss of life. Drivers have the responsibility when driving at night to operate the vehicle safely. If steps aren't taken to ensure that the road is visible, the driver may have been negligent and could be responsible for damages. A lawyer may be able to prove that a driver acted negligently to help his or her client receive a settlement.

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