Dangers Peak During the Evening Commute for Drivers in New Jersey

December 27, 2023

Dusk: The Most Dangerous Time to Be Behind the Wheel in New Jersey

Nighttime Driving Commute in New Jersey Poses Increased Risks Due to Unique Hazards, Reduced Visibility on Top of Reckless Behavior

Dangers Peak During the Evening Commute for Drivers in New JerseyAt the onset of darkness, driving becomes riskier as drivers face a unique set of hazards in the dark, and constant threats can become more challenging to spot. Whether traveling locally or commuting greater distances, these nighttime driving threats can increase based on specific location, time of year, and weather conditions.

The 2021 National Highways Traffic Safety (NHTSA) Annual New Jersey Report described how speeding drivers, distracted drivers, driving under the influence, and night driving were all identified as driving conditions that elevate injury severity in car accidents. These risk factors have a greater presence during the twilight hours. The NHTSA has cautioned drivers traveling in the evenings as repeated studies have uncovered that most crashes and fatalities occur between midnight and 6 AM.

Further, the NHTSA 2022 NJ Report showed that over 55% of all accidents in New Jersey occurred due to factors such as speeding, distracted driving, and impaired driving. These statistics underscore the need to understand the challenges of the evening commute.

Nighttime Struggles for Effective Driving in the Garden State

Driving at dark in the Garden State presents a distinct collection of challenges, compounded by the state’s dense population and traffic congestion here in New Jersey. The ever-present struggle against distracted driving adds another layer to the already apparent dangers of nighttime driving, like reduced visibility and often inadequately illuminated side streets and areas.

Everyone’s had that moment when you mutter at the person who breezes past you at night on a dark road with their high beams still on, knowing they are approaching traffic or the glow from an exceptionally bright pair of LED headlamps. Sometimes, these lights can produce glare and halos, impacting vision, causing discomfort for drivers, and even causing individuals to swerve or feel blinded.

In the darkness, driver fatigue likes to creep in, and it can result in driving drowsy. Dulled reaction times and an increased probability of accidents are the product of drowsy driving.

When on the road, meeting a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a major fear, and the likelihood of such encounters is even more prevalent at night, posing a significant threat to road safety.

Some drivers suddenly or consistently exceed speed limits. You guessed it– this tends to happen more frequently during nighttime, amplifying the severity of accidents.

The Northeast is notorious for potholes. Insufficient visibility can make spotting cavities, cracks, and bumps in the road or detecting any rough terrain difficult. Flying over a speed bump or jolting into a massive pothole can pose risks of accidents and vehicle damage, potentially leaving you stranded on the roadside (which is an additional risk).

Furthermore, limited lighting makes it more challenging to see pedestrians, cyclists, large potholes, vehicles, and other obstacles, increasing the risk of collisions.

At nighttime, there may be limited road assistance available as well. Stranded on a dark, lonely road with no one to call for help? It’s a scary thought. Unfortunately, roadside assistance can be harder to come by at night, leaving stranded drivers feeling vulnerable and alone while they wait for service.

Finally, using electronic devices like cellular phones, tablets, and other screens and devices can make driving even more perilous at night. These electronics are diverting attention from the road.

Urban and Suburban Dangers Due to Weather and Wildlife in NJ 

In addition to the nighttime challenges touched upon above, New Jersey’s climate introduces further complexities, especially during the fall and winter months. Weather-related conditions can significantly impact driving, with challenges like fog, wet roads covered in leaves, and the potential for snow and ice. Combining these weather elements with the darkness of night reduces visibility, making it crucial for drivers to exercise caution. Wildlife activity, particularly from nocturnal animals, adds another layer of risk, increasing the chances of collisions on roadways.

In recent years, what was primarily believed to be a rural issue of encounters with deer on NJ roadways has spread to the suburbs and even urban areas. The deer population, despite diverse strategies to get the numbers under control, has been rising. As a result, New Jersey motorists are experiencing increased interactions with deer on the road, which are both damaging and sometimes deadly.

Note: November (and late fall/early winter) is deer rutting season, one of two times a year when deer activity is at its highest peak.

The risks are real, and they are heightened for even the most prepared and vigilant drivers during fall and early winter. Drivers report scary near misses, accidents, and severe highway crashes involving deer. In September, a deer jumped from a busy New Jersey highway overpass onto another highway, falling directly into the windshield of a passing car, causing a significant accident and calamity.

PM Driver Tip: To navigate these nighttime challenges, heightened awareness and caution are essential for a safer driving experience. Plan alternate routes to detour driving paths with poor lighting and, whenever possible, avoid those late-night drives altogether.

Nighttime and Negligence: the Mix for Different Types of Accidents

The evening commute sees a myriad of accidents, but rear-end collisions and side-impact crashes are particularly prevalent. Many of these incidents result from factors like tailgating or not allowing sufficient distance between vehicles, distracted driving, like using your cell phone or fiddling with the music, and failure to obey traffic signals and rules. It’s crucial to recognize these common scenarios to understand better the risks involved.

 Injuries Resulting from Evening Commute Mishaps

Accidents during the evening commute can lead to a range of wounds, like minor cuts and bruises, to more severe harm and dangerous scenarios, like fractures, loss of consciousness, spinal cord, or head injuries. The reduced visibility compounds the challenges of either being spotted by someone who can call for help if you are incapacitated or from assessing and responding to your own and passenger’s injuries promptly.

Reckless Behavior Increases Accidents Rate in NJ

Skilled Auto Accident Lawyers Managing Claims for Injuries Happening During the Evening Accidents in New JerseyCertain conduct significantly contributes to accidents at and after nightfall. For instance, distracted driving is a predominant issue for night accidents in New Jersey, and it threatens the lives of pedestrians and cyclists alongside drivers. Engaging in activities that take your attention away from the road, like texting or using your phone, is not only irresponsible and puts your own life at risk, but it also jeopardizes the safety of others. Additionally, bold and reckless driving styles, like speeding, taking out traffic frustration on other motorists by cutting them off suddenly, and not using your blinker or other reckless maneuvers, only escalate the risks on the road for everyone.

Precautions for a Secure Evening Commute

Despite the challenges, there are proactive steps drivers can take to minimize the chance of accidents, whether on the evening commute home, a last-minute Target trip, or on your way back from a Saturday night downtown. At night, motorists should be extra vigilant to keep a safe distance from other cars, trucks, and motorcycles, stay focused on the road, and obey traffic laws. Additionally, ensuring headlights and brake lights operate enhances visibility for the driver and others on the road.

Discuss Your Claim with a Trusted Accident Lawyer in New Jersey

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in New Jersey while driving on your evening commute home, and you suspect the accident happened due to another party’s negligence, our attorneys at Chamlin, Uliano & Walsh, with focused experience in personal injury law can assist you in recovering the damages you are entitled to. Our car accident lawyers will help you collect the evidence and any expert testimony needed to meet your burden of proof in court. We can offer support while navigating the complexities of insurance claims, crafting a compelling case, and advocating for your legal and financial interests every step of the way.

Whether your accident occurred in Belmar, Middletown, Holmdel, Howell, Red Bank, Freehold, Wall, or any other place in Monmouth and Ocean County, New Jersey, trust our seasoned guidance to handle your claim for full and fair compensation. Call 732-440-3950, toll-free at 888-328-913, or access our intake contact form.

Categorised in: Car Accidents, Personal Injury