As Autumn settles in and transitions into Winter, the amount of available sunlight diminishes during the average person’s normal daily activities, including driving. Seasonal daylight changes, creating more dusk-to-dawn hours of darkness, account for one type of low light driving condition. However, there are other examples of low light driving conditions, including smog, fog, snow, sleet, smoke and rain. Combining nighttime driving with any of these additional factors simply makes traveling more unpredictable and dangerous.
Statistically, your odds of being involved in an auto accident, and even sustaining injuries, increase significantly during any of these low light driving conditions. Just taking night driving as an example, the National Safety Council points out that car crash fatalities are threefold more likely while operating a vehicle at night. In the essence of keeping you safe while driving, there are additional precautions you can implement during low light driving conditions. Being a safe and responsible driver, while not exposing yourself to potential litigation, are dependent upon adhering to the following recommendations.
Tips for Driving During Low Light Conditions
One of the easiest ways to drive responsibly during times when the sun is not out, or its light is otherwise diminished, is to turn on your headlights. In fact, Massachusetts law dictates that anytime your windshield wipers are in operation, your lights should be too. Further, the law mandates that your headlights need to be on when driving conditions prevent you from seeing approaching vehicles that are 500 feet or more away. This includes from ½ hour after sunset to ½ hour before sunrise, or when any of the low light driving conditions mentioned above are present.
These laws have been put in place as important safety measures for all drivers on our roads, and for various reasons. For one, a person’s eyes have to accommodate to light changes and that takes a while to happen. For example, you may have just left a well-lit parking lot at night and then driven onto a poorly-lit road. Before your eyes have fully adjusted you need to take precautions, including the aforementioned step of turning your lights on. Other safety actions recommended by driving experts during low light conditions are:
- Reduce your speed
- Assume that other drivers can’t see you
- Carefully watch the road without distractions
- Remove your sunglasses
Implementing these safe driving tips while operating a vehicle in poor visibility conditions, especially at night, will greatly improve your odds of making it to your destination without incident. A failure to heed these measures, however, opens a driver up to potential legal action if they are involved in a vehicle accident which results in property damage and/or personal injury to another.
Personal Injuries Received While Driving in Low Light Conditions
If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident during a low light driving situation, and the other driver did not have their lights on, they could be at-fault for negligence within the law. Perhaps personal injuries may have been sustained by you or by a passenger in your vehicle. Without a doubt your vehicle sustained damage that will require repairs or even possibly being replaced. In addition, there are other legal factors to be considered when another driver was at-fault during poor visibility circumstances.
In cases involving low light driving condition accidents, it’s prudent to know your rights and under Massachusetts law you may be entitled to compensation. Property damage and personal injury awards you may receive include lost wages, medical bills, vehicle repairs, and pain and suffering. The key to moving the process forward is first knowing and understanding your legal rights, and whether or not you have a viable case against the other driver.
Liability Must Be Proven in Low Light Driving Accidents
When you or a loved one have been involved in an accident during low light driving conditions, and the other driver may have been negligent, the first step in the legal process is to hire an experienced accident attorney. This is especially the case when personal injuries are involved. The other party’s insurance company will step in, and they could drag the legal proceedings out for months and even years. Don’t roll the dice when potential compensation, along with your personal well-being, weigh in the scales of justice.
In all vehicle accident personal injury cases involving possible negligence by one or both drivers, determining who was at-fault must be proven in a court of law. This is referred to as liability in the legal profession. Don’t go it alone. The proven lawyers at Mazow McCullough, P.C. have experience in personal injury negligence cases and we know, and will defend, your legal rights. We will also fight for any due compensation under the law that you may be entitled to. If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident during low light driving conditions, contact us today at (978) 744-8000 for a free case evaluation.