Risk of accidents during darkness on roads with different technical standards

Stanislaw Gaca
Mariusz Kiec

The paper presents a study of traffic accidents on Polish network of national and regional roads. The analyses were designed to identify the main factors which may affect the occurrence of road accidents during visibility restrictions in darkness. In recent years, on national roads about 39% of all accidents took place during insufficient roads lighting conditions, i.e. night, dusk and dawn. The share of fatalities in that period was about 54%, while the share of traffic, which is the measure of risk exposure during that period, was approximately 29%. A significant increase in the proportion of fatalities is associated with pedestrian traffic because more than 40% of accidents on roads in built-up areas during insufficient lighting involved pedestrians, despite their potentially low share in the traffic during the night. The risk of fatalities on national roads at night-time is about 4-times higher on rural roads and about 2.5-times higher on roads in built-up areas when compared to daytime.

This paper presents the following issues:

  • identifying the main factors related to road infrastructure which may affect road safety during darkness for various types of roads and locations
  • assessment of accident risk during the darkness based on accident rates taking into account the impact of traffic changes during the day and year. Also, the results of analyses with application of odds ratio are presented. The comparisons included the accidents which took place during the lack of natural light and during daylight
  • assessing the impact of road infrastructure on road safety based on accident prediction models that were developed for selected sections of the road network, with a high concentration of accidents during darkness



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