It is Safer to Drive during the Day
As night falls, it’s harder to see and to be seen. Even familiar surroundings look different seen under street lights and lit up by headlights. It’s no wonder crash rates increase for everyone at night—not just teens.
However, night driving increases risk for teens. It is an incredibly dangerous time for them to drive. Mile for mile, 16 and 17 year old drivers are about three times as likely to be involved in a fatal car crash at night than during the day—and they don’t have to be out super late. The research shows that almost 16% of teen driving fatalities (ages 15 – 19) happen between 9PM and midnight†. Remember, fatigue can start to set in as well.
That doesn’t mean that teens shouldn’t experience night driving at all; they need to develop this skill through practice. The best approach is to give your teen plenty of opportunities to learn how to drive at night—with you (or an adult supervisor) in the car. If this isn’t possible, then only very gradually should you extend the hours they are allowed to keep the car out as they gain experience over the course of their first year.
Remember that many states have laws which set limits on what times a teen can be on the road alone. Check out this guide for your state’s laws.
†National Safety Council analysis of 2012 FARS data.