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Car Accident Caused by Blinding Headlights

Misusing your high beams at the wrong time can prove very dangerous and even result in a serious car accident.

st. louis woman blinded by oncoming headlights

Anyone who has driven at night knows the feeling of a powerful beacon coming from the other side and disappearing suddenly as the other vehicle passes you by.

Sometimes, this beacon can be so strong that it leaves the other driver visually impaired. Even if it only lasts for a few seconds, it’s possible for these headlights to make you lose control of the vehicle and get in a car accident.

If this is the case, what are your options?

The Law

According to Missouri law, all motor vehicles must have two approved headlamps mounted at the same level. At least one light must be installed on each side of the front of the car. Motorcycles and other vehicles have different requirements.

Motor vehicles must also have at least two rear lamps, between 15 and 72 inches above the ground. These lamps must give off a red light visible from a 500 feet distance. Front lamps must have white, yellow, or amber colors.

But the issue here has more to do with the high beams, which is the maximum intensity the headlights have. Missouri law states drivers can use them only if no upcoming cars are approaching. If you see another vehicle coming your way, you should switch to the low beams.

What Can You Do?

Missouri law states that if you are the victim of a car accident caused by another party’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation for any injury or property damage caused by the crash. Even if you are found partially guilty, you may get a settlement in proportion to the other driver’s percentage of guilt.

In the case of accidents caused by strong headlights, it is certainly challenging to prove this was the reason the accident was caused. You will essentially need to prove these headlights caused you temporary blindness, which in turn made you lose control of the vehicle and crash.

If there are witnesses, they may be able to back up your story and say the other vehicle was misusing the high beams right before the incident. However, if it was only you and the other driver on the road at that time, it’s problematic.

Moreover, it’s also possible that the other driver was using the vehicle’s low beam at that time, but they were stronger and caused your visual impairments. This is another layer that only adds difficulty in proving your case.

When Should You Use High Beam Headlights?

While high-beam headlights help improve visibility on the road, they should be used sparingly. For example, driving on dark, rural roads with no streetlights or other cars. The extra light from the high beams will help you see potential hazards in the road ahead. 

When  Should You Not Use High Beam Headlights?

Here are three scenarios when one should not use high-beam headlights.

  • When there is oncoming traffic. The high beams can be blinding to oncoming drivers, making it difficult for them to see the road. 
  • When a pedestrian or cyclist is on the side of the road. The high beams can make it difficult for them to see, causing them to veer into traffic. 
  • When driving in well-lit areas, such as city streets or parking lots. The high beams can hinder your visibility. 

Free Consultation with a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer

Don’t talk to an insurance claims adjuster before speaking with The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. We can help you avoid making statements that may affect the outcome of your case. The consultation is free; you don’t pay unless we get you money!

Free Consultation (314) 361-4242
Updated: April 26, 2024