Car Accidents on the Rise as Days Get Shorter in Alaska


For those who live in Alaska, the onset of winter starts early and the days are already getting shorter. Daylight savings time will have an impact, but we will be seeing just five or six hours of light in Anchorage during the darkest days of winter. Unfortunately, the sun setting earlier means that many people will be driving home in the dark on their morning and evening commutes. This translates into reduced visibility and an increased risk of car accidents during these times and the overnight hours.

Many motorists will not be able to avoid driving entirely, but you can protect yourself and reduce the likelihood of an Anchorage, AK car accident if you avoid non-essential trips and take extra precautions for driving at night. Some information about the risks of driving in the dark and safety tips may be helpful.


Darkness Impacts Visibility More Than You Think

Your car is equipped with headlights to enable nighttime visibility, but you may not realize the limitations. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), your low beams only allow you to see around 160 feet ahead. On average, it takes most drivers 1.5 seconds to react to an object or potential threat, which means you could travel several dozen feet before you take evasive action. It is much more difficult to stop, slow down, or swerve to avoid a collision. Plus, your headlights are pointed directly on the roadway. Threats approach from the side or shoulder of the road may not be illuminated at all.


Daylight Savings Time Has Minor Impact on Safety

 November 1, 2020 at 2 a.m. marked the end of Daylight Savings time, at which point we all “fell back.” Officially the mornings start earlier, but the sun does not rise in Alaska until after 8 a.m. this time of year – long after many motorists have already arrived at work. This fact, plus the sun sets around 4 p.m., still means darkness and a heightened risk of accidents during the morning and evening commutes.


Safety Tips and Technology Reduce the Risk of Evening Accidents

Many newer vehicles feature a major breakthrough to enhancing visibility at night — adaptive headlights that swivel as the vehicle turns. Some studies have shown that the technology may reduce the risk of crashes by up to 4%. However, you should also keep in mind some safety tips:

  • Reduce your speed when driving at night;
  • Take extra precautions when driving around curves or over steep grades; and,
  • Avoid tailgating, since you need more time to stop at night.


Speak to an Alaska Car Accident Attorney for Free

You may not be able to completely eliminate the risks involved with driving at night, but this information should guide you in the right direction for making safe choices. If you were hurt or lost a loved one in an auto crash, please contact Power & Power Law in Anchorage, Alaska to learn more about your rights and remedies. We can schedule a no-cost consultation to explain the legal process.