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No Time for Complacency: The Most Dangerous Time on the Road

Nov 5, 2013 - Birmingham by

Safe driving should be a top priority all the time. But a lot of focus is on summer safety, especially for teenagers since the period from Memorial Day to Labor day is known as the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers. If you’re thinking the risk is behind you now that kids are back in school, though, the sad fact is that is simply not true. Winter and daylight savings time are coming, as is the busy holiday travel season. car-interior-1094865-m

Our Birmingham personal injury lawyers know that the risk of accidents can significantly increase during the winter time, in large part because people spend more time driving in the darkness. While advanced car headlight systems may help to reduce this risk in the future, drivers today need to be aware of the dangers and take extra precautions to stay safe as this dangerous time on the road approaches.

Winter Is a Dangerous Time for Accidents

According to Science Daily, many roads in the United States do not have proper roadway lighting because state and local government officials find it difficult to pay the cost of installation, maintenance and operation. Unfortunately, this can make the roads less safe since driving at night and in the dark leads to higher crash rates.

Daylight savings time–which was designed to protect the public from darkness in the early morning– can actually make the risk of auto accidents worse because people end up driving in the dark on the way home from work.

The Coventry Telegraph indicated that a three-year trial period in Britain revealed that when daylight savings time was not in effect and the mornings were darker, there were more accidents in the morning rush hour but fewer deaths in the evening.

The trade-off wasn’t one-to-one either, as the darkness in the evenings had a bigger impact on increasing car crashes than the darker mornings. Based on the data, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents says that not setting the clocks back could avoid 527 deaths and serious injuries on the roads. Of course, since daylight savings does go into effect in Alabama, drivers in Birmingham can expect to be in the dark during their return home from work.

Because early darkness makes winter a really dangerous driving time, it is important for:

  • Drivers to remember to drive slower when it is getting dark out because visibility is worse and there is a greater potential chance of an accident occurring
  • Parents to limit the amount of driving that kids do after dark, keeping in mind that it gets darker earlier and that accidents are significantly more likely to happen at night.
  • Drivers to look for advanced car headlight systems when buying a new car. Science Daily reported on research indicating that low-beam headlights could reduce the risk of night crashes by almost four percent among low-speed, sharp roadway curves and could reduce the risk between one and two percent when drivers were traveling at higher speeds along shallower curves.

By planning for a safe driving season, hopefully accidents can be avoided this year.

More Blog Entries:

Tuscaloosa Traffic Safety and the Launch of “Connected” Vehicles, Alabama Injury Attorneys Blog, September 3, 2013

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