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Early Dark Increases Traffic Accident Risks in Carolinas

Because of daylight savings, it’s now getting lighter earlier in the morning but it also gets darker earlier at night. While our Asheville auto accident lawyers know that daylight savings time has plenty of benefits, including making sure kids don’t have to wait for school buses in the pitch dark every morning, it also has some downsides too.

British researchers recently conducted a study into the impact of daylight savings time on driving safety and accident risk. As the Coventry Telegraph reports, the research conducted over three years showed that early darkness increased the risk of auto accidents that occur on the evening commute.

Early Darkness is a Danger for Drivers

The British looked at accident rates during a three-year period in Britain when daylight savings time did not go into effect, and compared this data to accidents when the clocks were changed. The data showed that when the clocks were not turned back, there were more accidents in the darker rush hour mornings than there were when there was more morning light. However, there were fewer deaths during the evening rush hour trip home.

The increase in evening auto accidents did not directly correlate with the decrease in morning accidents. The darkness during night rush hour had a bigger impact than during early morning rush hour, resulting in many more accidents at night.

Because early darkness in the evening causes more accidents for motorists than early darkness in the morning, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents indicates that as many as 527 deaths and serious injuries from car accidents could be avoided annually without daylight savings.

Could Headlights Help?

Despite this data, it is unlikely that daylight savings is going anywhere anytime soon in the United States. Since drivers cannot get rid of daylight savings, exploring other alternatives to night driving safety is paramount.

One potential solution to the increased risk of crashes at night is for car makers to make their headlights better. Science Daily recently reported on research taking a close look at how new lighting technologies could help to reduce the crash risks of night time driving.

According to the research, the use of stationary low-beam headlights could reduce slow-speed crashes on roads with sharp curves by about four percent. When the roads were higher-speed roads with shallower curves, the accident risk was still reduced by between one and two percent.

Adaptive high beams compared to low beam headlights had an even bigger potential impact on reducing crashes at night. When adaptive high beams are used, the accident risk might be reduced by as much as seven percent.

With many state and local governments unable to install roadway lights because of concerns about installation, maintenance and upkeep costs, finding a car that provides good quality light to reduce nighttime accidents should be a top priority for every driver. Drivers still need to remember, though, that no matter how good their lights, they must be cautious about driving in the dark.

If you have been involved in an accident, contact Grimes Teich Anderson LLP. Call 1.800.533.6845. No Attorney Fees Until You’ve Been Paid, exclusive of case costs.

More Blog Entries:
Child Safety and NC School Bus Accidents, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, October 2, 2012.

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