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Horst Diekgerdes / Trunk Archive

People have been obsessed with darkness for as long as there have been people. Nighttime, both literal and metaphorical, is a theme spanning everything from classic horror cinema to nuclear Armageddon to naughty behavior to the darkest (pun intended) recesses of your mind. Stuff happens at night.

This story originally appeared in Volume 10 of Road & Track.

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Most important for the readers of Road & Track, the hours between dusk and dawn are when things get weird. Driving at night is not just a darker version of driving during the day. It means less traffic, which means higher speed. It’s after happy hour, which means more intoxication. Wild animals forage and hunt at night, which means more bolting deer and—God help you and your vehicle—galloping moose.

Of course, darkness dramatically limits vision, which affects reaction time and, should something unexpectedly bad happen, can hinder rescue efforts. Plus, people get drowsy—in a CDC study, one in 25 drivers confessed to falling asleep at the wheel in a given month. Driving at night is complicated, can be dangerous at times, and should be approached with vigilance.

On the other hand, there is a special magic that can only happen at night. Not the stuff of Siegfried and Roy, but the kind that reveals colors in the darkness. In this issue, “Vol. 10: Night,” we go in search of those colors. We patrol the frigid infield of the 2022 Rolex 24 at Daytona and recount the almost mystical experience of racing down the Mulsanne straight during night stints at Le Mans. Contributing editor Lawrence Ulrich indulges in the overlooked joys of off-roading after the sun goes down in the new Ford Bronco.

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We also embed with a variety of people who ply their trades by night: highway-patrol cops, a trucker, the loneliest pizza-delivery guy in Alaska, and even a reformed car thief. There’s a special quality to living a nocturnal life behind the wheel that only the select few who do it can truly understand.

As issue themes go, this one was a challenge and a bit of a creative risk for our staff that we think really paid off. For the cover, we commissioned a stunning oil painting of the Toyota GR010 Hybrid exiting the esses at Le Mans. This artwork captures the risk and beauty unique to the night.

Drive safe!

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