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Time of day affects rural driving more than you might think

On Behalf of | Jan 25, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

When it comes to vehicle safety, many drivers overlook the reality that not all roads are equal. Driving on rural roads presents its own set of challenges, and the time of day can significantly impact safety conditions.

Whether you are traveling or commuting, understanding the risks associated with different times of day can make all the difference on rural roads.

Morning hazards

You might think rural roads are at their safest during the bright morning hours. However, the low angle of the sun can create blinding glare, making it difficult to see oncoming traffic or potential obstacles. Additionally, wildlife is more active around dawn, increasing the likelihood of unexpected encounters on the road.

Afternoon shadows

As the day progresses, shadows become longer, casting uneven lighting on the road. These conditions are more prevalent on certain rural roads surrounded tightly by a dense treeline. This can make it challenging to spot potholes, debris or changes in the road surface.

Twilight transition

Visibility decreases as twilight sets in, and rural roads may lack proper lighting. This makes it harder to see road signs, markings, and other vehicles. Drivers must rely on their headlights, which may not be enough to illuminate the entire road ahead. It is often best to reduce speed and stay alert during this transitional time of day.

Nighttime challenges

Driving on rural roads at night amplifies the risks associated with limited visibility. Wildlife becomes more active, and their presence on the road is often harder to detect. Additionally, rural areas may lack streetlights, making it necessary for drivers to rely on their headlights.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that, even though only 20 percent of people in the U.S. live in rural areas, 40 percent of the nation’s crash deaths happen on rural roads. Curbing this unfortunate trend starts with acknowledging how dangerous rural roads can be, especially during certain times of the day.