According to data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the risk of a person dying in a car crash is three times higher if they are driving at night compared to the risk if they are driving during the day. Although there are almost the same number of fatal car crashes that occur during the day as there are at night, only 25 percent of travel time takes place at night, which is how the NHTSA determined their risk percentages.

Virginia car crash attorney, VA accident lawyer

The NHTSA also found that there were more single-vehicle fatal car crashes which took place at during nighttime hours – 60 percent. During the day, 60 percent of all fatal car crashes involved two or more vehicles.

Although the lack of daylight obviously may play a factor in a driver’s ability to see, the NHTSA study found there were several other factors that play significant roles in why there are so many fatalities from night crashes.

Seat Belt Use

The study discovered that people who are driving at night are less likely to use their seat belts than drivers traveling during the day. In fatal crashes which occurred after 2:00 am, just 30 percent of victims were wearing their seat belts. Compare this figure to 12 hours later, 58 percent of crash victims who were killed in accidents that happened at 2:00 pm were wearing their seat belts.


The data the NHTSA used for their study also revealed that drivers are more likely to speed at night than they are during the day. Thirty-seven percent of nighttime fatal car accidents were caused by speeding, while only 21 percent of daytime fatal crashes were.

Drunk Driving

There were approximately 60 percent of fatal nighttime crashes in the NHTSA study which were alcohol-related. The percentage of alcohol-related daytime crashes was 21 percent.

Other Factors

Our body clocks tell us to sleep when it is dark out. After being awake and active for 12-15 hours, that clock begins to shut down and seeks the rest we need when the sun goes down. Yet our lifestyles have lost sight of that and many people find themselves struggling to stay awake behind the wheel of their vehicle, leading to a drastic increase in fatigued driving crashes.

Compromised night vision can also be a contributing factor to nighttime crashes.  As people age, they often have a harder time seeing at night due to conditions like cataracts or degenerative eye diseases.

Have You Been Injured?

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by another driver, you should contact a skilled North Carolina personal injury attorney to find out what recourse you may have against the at-fault driver your pain and loss. Our injury firm also offers a free car accident injury guide, which covers topics such as what damages can be claimed, how much a claim may be worth, and how passenger injury cases are different.