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Deadly accident risks rise at night

Experts often refer to deadly accident statistics as “disproportionate” during the night. In short, there are far too many deadly accidents when you consider how much traffic levels decline after dark — with most people home from work or school and not planning to drive anywhere until the morning.

A better way to look at accidents than with raw crash stats is to compare those stats to the number of vehicle miles that are being driven. This number is much smaller at night than it is during the day. However, even though the amount of vehicles on the road has fallen and the distance they cover has also dropped, some studies have found that about half of all deadly accidents happen at night. This means the number of deaths per miles driven is vastly higher, even if the number of deaths itself is the same.

For example, if you had 10 cars on the road during the day and there was one deadly accident, that would mean 20 percent of the cars were involved in an accident — assuming two cars crashed. If there were then only four cars on the road at night and there was one deadly accident, the risk would appear at first glance to be the same — one person died at night and one during the day. However, if two cars out of four crashed at night, that means that 50 percent of the vehicles were involved in deadly crashes — more than twice the daytime rate.

Obviously, the real statistics are much higher and involve tens of thousands of cars per year, but this simple example illustrates the issue easily and shows why the risks are much higher at night. If a loved one passes away in such a crash, family members need to know if they have a right to compensation.

Source: NCBI, “Road traffic casualties: understanding the night-time death toll,” S Plainis, accessed March 10, 2017

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