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5
Tips for Driving Safely at Night
Image Gallery: Car Safety
Image Gallery: Car Safety

Your depth perception, color recognition and peripheral vision all take a nosedive when the sun goes down. See more car safety pictures.

PHOTO 24/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Would you ever willfully perform an unnatural act?

Turns out, you're doing just such a thing whenever you get behind the wheel and drive at night. People are diurnal, versus nocturnal, and we weren't meant to be traipsing around in the darkness, at the same time the wild things are. Even though we humans are at the top of the food chain today (usually), our bodies have failed to keep up with the radical changes we've made in our lifestyles.

Nearly 90-percent of your reaction ability while driving relies on sight, yet the ability to see goes down dramatically at night. Your depth perception, color recognition and peripheral vision all take a nosedive when the sun goes down [source: Risk Control Services]. Also, we're naturally less alert at night.

As a result, nighttime driving is one of the most dangerous activities you can do, statistically speaking. Of all fatal car accidents, 49-percent occur at night, despite there being fewer drivers on the road. In fact, night driving has a fatality rate per mile nearly triple that of daytime driving [source: Elliott].

Drunk drivers, sleep-deprived driving zombies and errant animals are just a few of the dangers you must contend with on the road once the day grows late. The 1980s rap group Whodini was clearly onto something in titling one hit song, "The Freaks Come Out at Night." So if you must be out and about after dark, how do you avoid being victimized by vehicular freaks and other things that go bump in the night? In the next few pages, we'll offer five potentially life-saving tips.

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