A Haunting Reality

MISSISSIPPI, ALABAMA, and TENNESSEE – Did you know that crash rates are three times higher at night? Did you know on the Natchez Trace Parkway 33% of all serious injury crashes and fatalities occur at night when visitation is the lowest? October is a good time to talk about the risks associated with night driving because days are getting shorter and daylight savings time is nearing an end. You and your families will be driving more in the dark for the next few months and the risk of being involved in a serious motor vehicle collision increases.

There are a number of reasons why collisions increase at night. Research shows that a driver’s field of view is narrowed to areas only illuminated by headlights, and depth perception and vision can be compromised. Fatigue is also a factor and is caused by sleep-deprivation and body-clock disruption due to the end of daylight savings time. The ability to sustain attention, see, and react to hazards decreases when drivers are drowsy. “We all know deer are more active this time of year,” said Chief Ranger Sarah Davis. “Being vigilant and driving slower speeds will reduce the chance for a collision.”

Parkway Rangers suggest these following tips to help keep you safe at night:

  • Adjust your speed for the range of your headlights; use high beams when possible
  • Keep your eyes moving
  • Watch for cars and deer on hilltops and curves
  • Try not to look directly into the headlights of oncoming traffic; blinding glare can cause distraction
  • If you are drowsy, stop, take a break
  • Don’t drink and drive
  • Keep windshield and headlight lenses clean