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Properly Using Your High Beams to Avoid an Accident

As kind of a last hurrah before school starts, you decided to take your kids for a tubing ride down the South Fork Shenandoah River. Unfortunately, it took longer than you expected, and by the time you were finished, the sun was setting. You managed to get the kids in the car and bundled up for what you presumed would be an instant nap situation, and started your way back home.

By the time you made it halfway down Kendrick, it was pitch black, and you could barely see ten feet in front of you. However, since you know there are a lot of driveways and suburban roads on Kendrick, you opted to not use your bright headlights just in case someone pulled out.

As it turned out, there was someone pulling out of a driveway a few yards ahead—but unfortunately, he wasn’t as considerate as you. He had his high beams on full blast. As soon as he turned, his lights hit you full in the face and you couldn’t see a thing. You panicked and swerved your car onto the shoulder before slamming on your brakes.

Thankfully no one was injured this time, but what was that guy thinking? Why would he turn his high beams on when he could see you approaching? Doesn’t he know when and how to use them?

When and When Not to Use Your High Beams

We all know that driving a car poses certain risks, and that you must pay attention, stay alert, and drive cautiously to avoid an accident. However, according to National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), these risks are alarmingly multiplied once the sun goes down. The NHTSA estimates that 42 percent of all traffic collisions occur during nighttime hours, due to decreased visibility.

Unfortunately, it isn’t just the dark that creates the visibility problems; many drivers’ inability to use their high beams properly adds to potential “blinding” accidents. As a driver, don’t add to poor visibility by misusing your lights. Although you may need them to boost your visibility, you need to learn when to turn them off so you don’t distract or decrease visibility for other drivers.

When to Use Them:

  • When it’s difficult to see and no one is front of you.
  • When you’re at least 200 feet behind a vehicle and its back lights aren’t illuminating the road enough for you to see.
  • When you’re at least 500 feet from oncoming traffic and need the high beams to see the road.

When to Turn Them Off:

  • When cars are approaching you, including highways where the traffic is on the opposite side of the median. Don’t risk blinding or distracting oncoming traffic; turn your beams off until you’re sure no one is ahead of you.
  • On the highway when there is traffic coming toward you from the other lanes.
  • In fog. Fog can reflect high beams back to you, making it even harder to see.
  • On curves. You never know when another vehicle may be coming toward you around a bend in the road. Turn your brights off until you complete the curve to prevent the possibility of blinding the other driver.
  • At intersections and stop signs. Although it may appear that no one is around, you could wind up blinding or distracting drivers on the crossing roads.
  • Going up hills. Again, there is no way of telling if a car is coming toward you on the other side of the hill; decrease the risk of distracting another driver by turning your brights off until you’re at the top.

Making it Through the Night

Safety is the most important thing for you and your family. Help us spread the word about high beam safety by sharing this page on Facebook and Twitter. You never know who may need the refresher course in light safety. Share now to help protect our roads.

We’ve all witnessed an occasional driver who has forgotten to turn his lights off or mistakenly turns them on without noticing us. However, when that mistake causes an accident, you have the right to receive compensation. If you’ve recently been injured in an accident caused by the negligent use of lights or high beams, call us today for a free consultation. We’ll be glad to review your case, discuss your rights, and provide you with options for an injury claim.

Don’t let your insurance company blindside you with a poor settlement. Let us help you make it through, and get the compensation and justice you deserve. Call now!