Car accidents are extremely common during the nighttime, and they often result from drivers having difficulty seeing, driving drowsy, or driving while intoxicated. While all of these factors also can play a role in motor vehicle crashes that happen during the daytime, it is important to be aware of the risks of nighttime driving and to understand how these collisions happen. A Los Angeles car accident attorney can help you to file a claim if you were involved in a nighttime accident caused by a negligent driver.
In addition to holding the negligent driver accountable for your injuries, it is also essential for drivers who are on the road at night to take precautions. We want to discuss some frequently asked questions about nighttime driving crashes.
Do More Car Accidents Happen at Night?
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), drivers in the U.S. only do about 25 percent of their driving during nighttime hours, but 50 percent or more traffic fatalities occur during those nighttime hours. Even when you know a road well and believe that the path you are driving is familiar, nighttime driving is more dangerous than daytime driving.
At night, even if you turn on your high-beam headlights, your visibility is only—at best—about 500 feet in front of you. With only your regular headlights, visibility is limited to approximately 250 feet. When visibility is limited, it is more difficult to react appropriately to a stopped vehicle in the road or another hazard that could lead to an accident. As we age, the NSC also emphasizes that we need more light in order to see clearly. To be sure, “a 50-year-old driver may need twice as much light to see as well as a 30-year-old.”
Who is Responsible for a Nighttime Driving Accident?
Liability for a nighttime driving accident depends on many different factors. While limited visibility can lead to a collision, the severity of the crash may be worse if another driver was speeding, intoxicated, or otherwise failing to obey the rules of the road. In general, if another driver’s negligence played a role in causing the collision, that driver may be responsible.
Fatigue is one of the most common causes of nighttime crashes. According to the NSC, around 60 percent of adults regularly drive when they are tired, and as many as 37 percent of adult drivers admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel. An LA car accident attorney can discuss the dangers of nighttime driving with you in more detail, as well as your options for seeking compensation if you were injured in a crash caused by a drowsy driver.
What Can I Do to Prevent a Car Accident While Driving at Night?
There are many steps you can take to avoid a nighttime car accident. The NSC recommends some of the following safety tips:
- Always make sure your headlights are clean;
- Dim your dashboard lights at night;
- Look away from any oncoming headlights;
- Wear anti-reflective glasses;
- Keep your windshield clean to avoid glare and streaking;
- Driver slower to account for limited visibility;
- Get an annual vision exam;
- Avoid distractions;
- Do not take prescription drugs that could make you drowsy;
- Get at least seven hours of sleep before driving;
- Avoid driving altogether if you have been awake for 16 hours or more;
- Take a rest break at least every two hours;
- If you get tired, pull over and take a brief nap;
- Try to plan drives for hours during which you are typically awake; and
- Never drink alcohol and drive.
What Happens If I Am Partially to Blame for a Nighttime Collision?
When a car accident victim files a claim for compensation against the negligent driver who caused a nighttime crash, sometimes that negligent driver will raise the issue of comparative fault as a defense. California is what is known as a pure comparative fault state. This means that, even if a court does determine that a plaintiff is partially to blame (or shares some fault) for the accident at the center of her case, that plaintiff is still entitled to recover damages. However, the plaintiff’s damages award will be reduced by her share of the fault. This remains true whether the plaintiff is 1 percent or 99 percent at fault.
Since nighttime crashes can be confusing and complicated, the other driver may attempt to argue that you share some of the fault for the crash. A car accident attorney in Los Angeles can help gather valuable evidence to prove that you should not be held liability—even by a small percentage—for the nighttime accident in which you sustained injuries.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles
Nighttime driving accidents can happen for many reasons, including intoxicated driving, drowsy driving, and vision impairment. If you were involved in a nighttime car accident caused by a negligent driver, an LA car accident lawyer can speak with you today about filing a claim for compensation. Our firm is committed to helping plaintiffs in the Los Angeles area who have been injured in traffic collisions. Contact El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers for more information about how a Los Angeles car accident lawyer can assist with your case.