oncoming car with blinding high beam headlights onHigh-beam headlights are designed to help a driver see in extremely dark conditions. High beams are not only brighter than the default headlights, but they are also aimed higher to give the driver a clear view of the entire road ahead and both shoulders on narrow, rural roads. However, they are also aimed squarely at eye-level for oncoming cars, so they are only intended for use when there is no oncoming traffic. An oncoming car's brights have nailed everyone at some point in their driving career, but that doesn't mean they always use them correctly themselves.

What You Risk When You Misuse Your High Beams

Every driver has had (or will have) to drive after the sun goes down. Unfortunately, during those times, you will have a 50 percent greater chance of getting into an accident, according to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. To further these frightening odds, data taken from the Department of Transportation estimates that 85 percent of drivers misuse their high beams at some point. The result: dangerous situations that magnify the risks for blinding accidents in poor nighttime visibility collisions.

If you’re not 100 percent sure of how to use your high beam headlights, leave them off. Otherwise, you could cause one of the following roadway dangers:

  • Decreasing your own visibility. When you use your brights in poor weather such as fog or rain, the light can actually reflect off of water particles, making it harder to see oncoming traffic, animals, and pedestrians.
  • Blinding oncoming traffic. If you fail to turn your high beams off when cars approach you, the light can temporarily blind the drivers and cause them to swerve into traffic. This may include swerving into your vehicle!
  • Misjudging distance. High beams are designed to illuminate farther than standard lights. However, if you forget that they’re on, or you use them on hills and turns, they can cause you to misjudge the distance in front of your vehicle. Not only can this cause delayed braking accidents, but it can also cause intersection and turning collisions.
  • Increasing road rage. Having your brights on while driving behind someone isn’t only rude, but it can also blind, distract, annoy, and infuriate him to the point where he may take dangerous and deliberate actions to retaliate. The other driver may slam on his brakes, speed to get away from you, or even confront you.

Just as easily as you could cause an accident by using your brights improperly, you could be the victim of another driver misusing their high-beams. If you are seriously injured in a crash caused by bright headlights, you might be able to hold the negligent driver responsible for your losses.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

High beams are meant to help aid visibility during poorly lit circumstances. However, if you don’t know the proper situations in which to use them, or other drivers are oblivious to the times when they shouldn’t be using them, tragic accidents can result. Don’t allow a simple lightbulb to ruin your future; be aware of your high beam use, and take proper precautions when approaching others who are misusing their headlights to prevent tragic and possibly fatal accidents.

Have you already been injured?

Do you feel as though your injuries have left you in the dark?

Call our Virginia car accident attorneys at 540-636-7100 or fill out our contact page for a free consultation and to get more information about how our experience can help light your way to the settlement you deserve.

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Working with Andrew and his team has been--without exception--one of the most pleasant, productive, and professional experiences of my adult life. I was seriously injured in an accident in July, 2018, in Virginia. I was driving a company vehicle that was registered in Maryland, for a company that was based in Wisconsin. And I live in New Jersey, where my personal vehicles are insured. The several jurisdictions involved presented a very unique case that demanded an experienced and nuanced strategy. I found Andrew Thomas (of Dulaney, Lauer, & Thomas) through some online research. And it is noteworthy that Andrew has worked the other side of the aisle--he used to work with insurance companies. Andrew took on my case with the assurance that he would work it with no less energy than he does each of his cases. At each turn, and with each question I had, Andrew and Paralegal Misty kept me informed, returned my calls, provided detailed explanations, and kept me feeling like I was in the loop and there was an eventual end to our journey. Nearly five years after the accident, we settled out of court for a significant sum in recognition of my personal injuries. The settlement was much more than I had expected. And without Andrew & Misty, I am sure the award would have been much less. If you are looking for professionalism, knowledge, dedication, answerability, responsiveness, integrity, and human-level communication from a personal injury attorney--look no further. You have found him. Thank you, Andrew and Misty. Gary Daley
I'm grateful for all your work . . . Roger V. (Remington, VA)
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