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McHenry County Car Accident Attorneys

Your vehicle is equipped with headlights and other features for your safety as well as the safety of other motorists and pedestrians. But are these features enough? According to a recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), only one of the 31 vehicle models studied had headlights that it could rate as "good." Only 11 of the vehicles earned a rating of "acceptable," meaning that more than half of the vehicle models studied had headlights that were not bright enough to make the cars visible from 330 feet away.

The only vehicle that was rated "good" was the Toyota Prius V. However, this was only when the vehicle was equipped with headlight assist and LED lights. With regular halogen headlights, the Toyota Prius V earned a rating of "poor." This means that many cars are on the road with headlights that put them at risk of being involved in a collision. Most car accidents occur at dawn and dusk or at night, the times of day when visibility is low. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and even other motorists can crash with a vehicle that has headlights that are too dim, causing one or more of the parties involved to suffer injuries. If you are injured in a car accident due to low visibility or any other reason, you have the right to seek compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim.

How Do I Know if my Headlights are Sufficient?

The requirements for headlight brightness have not changed in half a century. As you can see from the study cited above, the vehicles available today have varying headlight strengths. So how can you tell if your car's headlights are bright enough to allow you to clearly see any hazards in the distance? You can use a digital light meter to determine your headlights' brightness.

Some states require that headlights be visible from at least 115 feet away. Illinois is not one of these states. Illinois does have headlight requirements in place though, which include the following:

  • Headlights must be in use when driving between dusk and dawn
  • Headlights must be in use any time the vehicle's windshield wipers are in use
  • High beams must be dimmed when 500 feet from an oncoming vehicle or 300 feet behind one, and
  • Hazard lights must be used to signify a parked or disabled vehicle.

Headlights degrade over time, so it is a good idea to regularly check your headlights' brightness. It is also a good idea to replace headlights in pairs so your vehicle is lit properly on both sides, rather than having one headlight that is much stronger than the other.

Prevent an Accident Caused by Low Visibility

As a motorist, you can take steps to reduce your chance of being involved in an accident due to low visibility. One of these steps is installing brighter headlights on your vehicle, either through an upgrade when buying a new car or replacing the existing bulbs with higher-powered bulbs. Purchasing external lights to supplement your vehicle's headlights is also an option.

Other ways to improve your visibility when driving include sticking to well-lit roads and making use of your high beams when appropriate. Driving with a windshield free of fog and debris can also make it easier for you to see other vehicles, pedestrians, and hazards in the roadway.

In any case, responsible driving practices are your best defense against being involved in a collision. Do not use your cell phone while driving unless you have a hands-free device. Taking your eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, can cause you to have an accident. Driving within the speed limit and obeying posted traffic signals are also important to reducing your chance of being injured. If you are driving at an appropriate speed, you have a greater amount of time to react to hazards than you would have if you were speeding.

Work with a Crystal Lake Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have been injured in a car accident because of another driver's negligence, you could be entitled to monetary compensation through a personal injury claim. To learn more about seeking compensation this way and your rights as an injured claimant, speak with an experienced Crystal Lake personal injury lawyer. Our team at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC can help you determine whether you have grounds for a case and if so, the best way to pursue it. Contact our firm today to set up your initial consultation with one of our qualified legal professionals.

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