The National Safety Council estimates that even though we do only a quarter of our driving at night, approximately 50% of all traffic accidents occur after dark. This leaves many wondering why so many accidents take place at night.
One of the main reasons is that at night, our depth perception is reduced, as is peripheral vision and the ability to see colors. We are also more likely to be more tired at night which can affect our reflexes. People who don’t get enough sleep or who have been working long hours are more prone to having an accident.
Another factor that can affect our ability to drive and see well at night is age. According to the National Safety Council, a person who is older than fifty years of age may need twice as much light to see well as a person who is only 30. Older drivers may also have compromised vision as a result of degenerative eye diseases or cataracts.
There are a few precautions drivers can take to prevent accidents while driving at night. Jamaica Hospital’s Trauma service and the National Safety Council recommends the following:
- Keeping the windshield clean
- Making sure headlights are aimed properly
- Reducing your speed
- Turning your headlights on as soon as it starts to get dark so others can see you
- Increasing the distance between your car and the car ahead
- Pulling over if you feel too tired to drive
- Getting at least seven hours of sleep
Older drivers are encouraged to get annual eye exams to make sure that their eyes are healthy. These annual exams can also see if there are cataracts forming which can impair vision, and can check to see if eyeglass prescriptions are needed.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-5900.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.