When Approaching Another Vehicle at Night

A car driving on a road at night with a moon and question marks nearing another car

Orange County is a busy place, with drivers on the road at all hours. Driving at night is always going to be more risky due to factors like lower visibility and a heightened risk of drowsiness. You should avoid driving at night as much as possible, but that is not always an option.

When Orange County residents find themselves behind the wheel after dark, they should exercise much greater caution, especially when another car approaches. A few special precautions can improve their chances of a safe, secure experience on the road. You can also always reach out to the team at The Text Kevin Accident Attorneys for aid.

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Night Driving Poses Extra Challenges for Drivers

Despite there being fewer cars on the road, around half of all car accident deaths occur at night according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). While you may have been confidently driving at night for years, there are quite a few risks that make it more dangerous than during daytime. While it is possible to do so safely and without much trouble, one should definitely be mindful of the various factors that make it so potentially deadly.

Studies from the NHTSA state that drowsy driving is similarly dangerous to drunk driving, in fact. Driving after staying awake for more than 24 hours showed a similar level of impairment to driving with a 0.10 percent blood alcohol content (BAC), which is over the legal limit in California. If you are driving drowsy or are on the road with a drowsy driver, it can lead to significant safety risks.

California is one of the states with the highest nighttime driving risk; significantly deadlier than driving during the day. Operating a vehicle on a busy road is challenging enough, but driving past sundown reduces visibility, adds glare from headlights, and makes you contend with driver fatigue. Just because you are wide awake does not mean the other drivers will be as alert.

While driving past dark is sometimes necessary, do what you can to avoid more minor side roads and stick to busier, more well-lit highways.

5 Tips to Keep You Safe when Approaching Another Vehicle At Night

As with almost all driving, the most significant risk to your well-being is not yourself but the other drivers on the road. When approaching another driver you should exercise caution for everyone’s sake, trying to be as considerate as possible. While this may seem trivial, the amount of deadly collisions in Orange County alone should be all the motivation you need.

Dim Your Headlights

Anyone who has been driving down a dark road at night knows that a sudden flash of bright headlights can seriously impair their vision. It is not only inconsiderate but seriously dangerous, essentially blinding the driver for a moment and causing significant glare. On a winding, uneven road, that can very easily cause either a collision or send you off the road and into whatever terrain you are driving through.

When you spot another driver coming you must always dim your headlights from high down to low. Ideally, both of you will follow this rule, and instead of blinding each other, you will provide illumination to make up for the lost headlight power. Keep your lights dimmed until you have passed them and no more vehicles are coming your way.

Slow Down

Whenever you are driving, it is always good advice to slow down when another driver approaches. This is especially necessary at night when you cannot be sure how alert the other driver may be. Keep a slower speed than you might typically until the driver has passed, and you are sure one else is coming.

Keep in mind that, given the limited visibility, you may not always know a driver is approaching until it is too late to alter course. Whether you see another vehicle or not, it is best to mind the speed limit and remain slower and more careful. In some instances, the car approaching you might not even have its headlights on to alert you.

Never Drive Drowsy

The most crucial trick to safely driving at night very well could be never to drive drowsy. When you are tired, your reflexes will be more sluggish and you will be much less alert, making driving extremely hazardous. Commercial drivers are often limited on how long they are allowed to drive without rest, for good reason.

Many drivers try to avoid this by drinking energy drinks, consuming caffeine, or using other means offered by roadside rest stops. While these can be a small help, it is much safer not to rely on them. If you find yourself getting drowsy it is suggested that you stop as soon as you can, finding a safe place to rest before continuing on.

Watch Out for Obstacles, Pedestrians, and Bicyclists

Of course, not all car accidents involve two vehicles colliding. There are plenty of other hazards one must avoid while behind the wheel, and almost all of them become that much more challenging at night. Lives are on the line, so being a careful, conscientious driver is absolutely vital.

Objects are often lost off the back of trucks or knocked onto the road, and without illumination, they can become potentially deadly traps. The lack of light is the biggest obstacle in any situation, obscuring pedestrians and bicyclists if they are not properly dressed. You cannot always count on someone taking a walk to be wearing reflective gear or for a streetlight to reveal an obstacle in the road.

Storms only heighten the risk, and a storm at night creates a situation you certainly want to avoid. Tree limbs or other debris can be easily blown into your path, entirely invisible until you find yourself coming upon it. Always take road and weather conditions into account before getting behind the wheel, no matter how important your task is.

Follow Safe Driving Distance Guidelines

Another good catch-all rule for driving that becomes more important at night is to keep a safe distance from the vehicles around you. If you are behind someone, make sure you have at least a car’s length between the two of you. They may run across something you cannot see and have to stop quickly, causing a rear-end collision if you are not careful.

Experts recommend that you give yourself an extra four to five seconds of space between you and the other car when approaching someone from behind. This additional time gives you a better chance to stop on time if they stop suddenly. It can also prevent a rear-end accident if they have dim or non-functioning brake lights, making it more difficult to judge when they are slowing or stopping.

When in doubt, always give yourself extra space to stop. Other factors, such as rain and wet road surfaces, can increase stopping time as well.

Accidents When Driving at Night: State Laws Can Impact Your Claim

Even when following these tips, accidents can and do still happen. When you have been in a car accident due to the negligence of another driver, you are entitled to seek compensation. An Orange County car accident lawyer will be your best bet, guiding you through the process to achieve a fitting settlement.

However, when seeking compensation, a number of California laws can impact your case. While a good law firm will be happy to help you understand these laws, familiarity with them will help you get started. The more you know, the better your chances of a full and fair settlement from the liable party or insurance company.

State Time Limits

When dealing with any sort of personal injury case, it is essential to understand the statute of limitations. This limits how long you have after an accident to file a claim. If you wait until the statute of limitations is up, you usually will not be allowed to seek compensation, no matter the severity of your injuries.

If you have been injured in a car accident in Orange County, you have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1. If you only experienced property damage, however, you have three years to file your claim. If a state government vehicle was involved, you have only six months, as this carries different rules under Government Code section 911.2.

Comparative Negligence

There are times when both drivers can be at fault in car accidents. In these instances, you are not necessarily unable to file a claim, even if you are partly responsible for the accident. Every state has different laws regarding comparative negligence, making it a confusing matter.

According to California Civil Jury Instructions No. 405, California does not cap your ability to seek compensation despite sharing fault. As long as you are not entirely at fault for the accident, you can still file a personal injury claim. You may not receive a payout as large as you could otherwise, but you at least have a case.

Compensatory vs. Punitive Damages

Damages are essentially the measure of how much you are owed in a car accident case. They cover the physical damage, the medical and repair costs, and even the pain and suffering endured because of the accident. A skilled personal injury lawyer is vital to understanding this area and ensuring you come out with a fitting settlement.

Compensatory damages are those that strictly cover the cost of your accident and will be the main focus. These damages are split into economic and non-economic damages under California Civil Code 1431.2 or the financial and emotional toll of your accident. You may need the help of a skilled personal injury attorney to determine the full value of these damages, which should cover both the current and future damages you have suffered.

Punitive damages may also be awarded according to California Civil Code Section 3294, but these damages are meant to punish the at-fault party for their actions. Typically, these are only awarded in situations where the at-fault party was acting with gross negligence or meant to hurt you, so you may only be eligible for these damages in certain situations. If you believe you may be eligible, talk to our legal team at The Text Kevin Accident Attorneys about your case.

How Can an Attorney Help Me When an Accident Happens at Night?

If you have been in a car accident at night, whether you were injured or your car was damaged, our team may be able to help you. We will work tirelessly to determine who is at fault and to what extent, allowing you to seek just compensation for your damages and suffering. It is never a good idea to go into a legal matter without the aid of a highly experienced legal advocate.

We can handle the complicated paperwork, file the case for you, and inform the accused and their legal team. We can also negotiate and gather evidence to build your case, and should it be necessary, we will represent you in court. A car accident can severely affect your life and livelihood, and maximum compensation may be your best hope for recovery.

Knowing what your compensation is worth is one of the most valuable pieces of information an attorney can impart because the accident may not seem too serious at first, especially if you cannot see the damage. You may also be unaware of the mental and emotional toll you have suffered, which can worsen the impact of your claim. Pie team can step in to ensure you receive the total compensation you are due, not just what the at-fault party is willing to pay.

Pro Tip
Be sure to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible so that evidence and witness testimony is still fresh. You do not want to wait too long and miss the statute of limitations.

Reach Out to Our Top-Rated Car Accident Law Firm for More Information

Driving at night comes with certain risks that you may not have to worry about in the daylight. In fact, the risks of an accident are high even if you are a careful driver. You may have already experienced the fear and pain of a car accident at night, and you need help.

Orange County residents can count on The Text Kevin Accident Attorneys for help with nighttime car accidents. If you have experienced personal injury or property damage in a crash, contact our team as soon as possible for professional, experienced legal counsel. We can be reached at any time, either through our quick contact form or by phone to schedule your 100% free consultation.

Kevin Crockett

Kevin Crockett

Kevin Crockett is an award-winning personal injury lawyer who understands the impact an accident can have on someone’s life. That’s why he aggressively fights for each of his clients.

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