Who’s At Fault When the Driver Is Blinded by the Light?

Who’s At Fault When the Driver Is Blinded by the Light?

There is no law excusing a driver from liability when an accident is caused by solar glare. Drivers are expected to take the necessary precautions that promote safe driving.

Blinded by Sun Glare

Bright sunlight and sun glare are associated with an increased risk of life-threatening motor vehicle crashes. The risk of serious driving injuries and fatalities is 16 percent higher during days with bright sunlight than days with normal weather or cloudy days. Bright sunlight or glare can temporarily blind a driver causing visual illusions that lead to distortions in depth perception, contrast, size, and motion. Visual artists and painters are taught that bright clear objects appear closer than dim faded objects.

Car crashes caused by sun glare are most common during summer and fall seasons, especially at sunrise or sunset. Certain highways and stretches of roads without any trees that provide shade present an increased risk for sun glare accidents. Bright sunlight and glare are more likely to blind a diver when it is directly in front of a vehicle and low to the ground, so the sun visor has no effect. If bright sunlight is at the side of a vehicle, it’s less likely to be blinded to a driver.

Safety Precautions

Drivers are expected to take driving safety precautions to prevent car accidents and injuries, including the risks of being blinded by the sun. If a sun glare accident occurs, the driver who caused the accident will be held accountable for the accident. Most law enforcement officers and insurance companies expect drivers to exercise due care to compensate for sun glare that may impact safe operation and control of a vehicle. This may include:

  • Driving with a clean windshield
  • Keeping objects or clutter off of the dashboard
  • Turning headlights on to increase visibility
  • Using the sun visor to block bright sunlight
  • Wearing polarized sunglasses that reduce glare
  • Changing travel time or taking an alternate route

In Nevada, interstates and highways that pass through the Mohave Desert can put drivers at higher risk for sun glare vehicle accidents and injuries, so drivers must exercise caution. Bright sunlight is often reflected off of oncoming vehicles, side mirrors, chrome bumpers, and white or shiny objects. A car accident lawyer commonly sees sun glare accidents in desert areas where the bright, hot sun stays overhead most of the day.