Shorter Days = More Dark Drives, Increased Crash Risk
As daylight hours dwindle, many of your employees will be spending more time driving in the dark. Whether driving to work, home from work or as part of their jobs, they will be on the road before the sun comes up or after it goes down.
Fatigue, compromised vision, rush hour traffic and impaired drivers contribute to making driving in the dark more dangerous than driving during the daylight.
- Research shows the risk of a fatal crash is three times greater at night
- Impaired visibility is a contributing factor in crashes every day
Some points to cover in a safety talk:
How aging affects drivers: Studies show a 50-year-old driver may need twice as much light to see as well as a 30-year-old. At age 60, driving in the dark can become even more difficult, in part because of the effects of cataracts and degenerative eye diseases.
The American Optometric Association offers tips for safe driving in the dark:
- Use extra caution at intersections; many crashes are the result of failure to yield
- Reduce speed
- Get an annual eye examination
Sleep habits: Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep to reach peak performance levels. In a National Health Survey Interview, 30% of respondents reported averaging less than six hours. Losing even two hours of sleep is similar to the effect of having three beers. In other words, judgment, concentration and reaction time can be thrown off course.
Low-visibility on crowded roads: The frustration of traffic delays is an altogether different ballgame. The daily commute can be tough enough under the best conditions – clear skies, dry pavement. Add darkness to the equation and it’s no wonder risk increases.
Today’s advanced driver assistance systems can help:
- Automatic emergency braking: can sense slow or stopped traffic ahead and urgently apply the brakes if you fail to respond.
- Lane departure warning: uses visual, vibration or sound warnings if you are drifting out of your lane.
- Blind spot monitoring: warns of cars driving in your blind spots and may provide an additional warning if you use your turn signal when there is a car next to you.
- Adaptive headlights: adapt to changing roadway conditions – such as curves – to better illuminate your path.