Many accidents occur during times of darkness. Headlights are one of the primary tools that drivers have available to make driving at night safer.
Headlights are sometimes taken for granted. Proper use of headlights is critical for safety when driving in darkness. It’s important that drivers know how to use them. High beams are especially helpful but need to be used appropriately.
High Beams are Helpful for Seeing at a Distance — With Caveats
High beam headlights are helpful when driving on a dark, unlit road, with no other cars in the vicinity. These lights can illuminate the road and surrounding area for quite a distance. This visibility provides the driver with a clear view of the road and most hazards that lie ahead.
There are cautions related to having such a long view of the road. Tunnel vision. The ability to see farther down the road creates a situation where the driver’s eye is drawn to a distance away. The driver can lose focus on what is happening directly in front of them creating a blind spot for hazards that would have been seen had only low beam headlights been used.
High Beam Use When Sharing the Road with Other Vehicles
Headlights make it possible for cars on the road to see each other. High beam headlights are a benefit for seeing a distance away but not helpful when driving close to other vehicles. They should not be used when oncoming vehicles are within 500 feet. They can blind the other driver.
High beams should also not be used when behind another vehicle within 300 feet. A driver is close enough to see the vehicle in front of them within that distance. The light from the high beam headlights entering the rear of the vehicle or bouncing off the mirrors can blind the driver if they are too close. The taillights on the vehicle are adequate to be seen with low beam headlights. High beams are not usually needed to see a car in front, if their headlights and taillights are functional.
When high beams are used in an unsafe manner, accidents can occur. Blinding light from high beams can be very distracting. Improper use of high beams is more than annoying. It is a dangerous practice.
Drive safely and contact our experienced law firm if you are in an accident where one or more vehicles improperly used their headlights. We are here to help.