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The Days Are Getting Shorter – Practical Steps for Staying Safe

| Category: Personal Injury | September 22, 2023

Summer has passed and fall is here, which means thankfully cooler temperatures and shorter days. The later sunrises and earlier sunsets do not typically receive much consideration, but the reality is that less daylight means an increased risk of being injured in an accident. Those of us who are up before dawn or out after dark should therefore take steps to make sure we can see and are seen to protect ourselves from avoidable debilitating injuries. If you are injured in an accident, consider speaking with a personal injury lawyer to discuss what you may need to do to protect your rights.  

Tips for Motorists

Many drivers simply overlook the increased hazards associated with driving in the dark. While modern headlights reduce these hazards, drivers need to keep in mind that the lack of sunlight means reduced visibility. Drivers should therefore give special attention to shorter days and take the following simple precautions: 

  • Check your lights. The lights on your vehicle are arguably your most important piece of safety equipment. Make sure that your headlights work, including your high beams. Also check your tail lights, brake lights, and turn signals. Promptly replace any burnt-out bulbs.
  • Plan ahead. Make sure that you have flairs, reflective triangles, or other visibility measures in the event that your vehicle breaks down. You want to be sure that you are visible to other drivers when stopped on the side of the road. 
  • Keep your vehicle in good working order. You want to do everything you can to avoid breaking down on the side of the road if at all possible. Keeping up with repairs and maintenance is the best way to do this. 
  • If you do break down, be careful. Parking on the shoulder of the road is one of the most dangerous places to be. Pull off of the road slowly and carefully, being mindful of steep drop-offs or soft dirt on the shoulder. Try to stop where there is plenty of visibility. Engage your hazard lights, and exit your vehicle carefully.
  • Watch your high beams. Be careful when using your high beams so that you are not blinding oncoming drivers.
  • Pay extra attention. Your field of vision is limited to what you can see in your headlights. This means that you have less time to react to things like wildlife, children, or pedestrians approaching from the side of the road. 
  • Do not drive while fatigued. While you should never drive while drowsy, it is much harder to stay alert and awake when you are driving after dark.  

Following these tips, or just increasing your awareness, can prevent you from causing a car accident or getting seriously injured. 

Tips for Pedestrians and Bicyclists

Pedestrians and bicyclists are especially at risk in the dark. Here are some ways to keep yourself safe when there is little or no daylight: 

  • Remember that motorists cannot see you. Unless you are in their headlights, you are virtually invisible to drivers. Drivers may also not have enough time to stop by the time you are visible in their headlights. As a result, you need to watch out for cars instead of relying on them to watch out for you. 
  • Use lights. There are a variety of inexpensive LED lights in a wide variety of options for both pedestrians and bicyclists. They can be wearable as a headlamp or clip-on to your clothing. Bicyclists can buy powerful, inexpensive lights that attach to the handlebars or their helmets. Whatever options you choose, these lights do a tremendous job of making you more visible to motorists. 
  • Wear reflective clothing. You can also purchase reflective vests, waist belts, and other clothing items that reflect lights from cars and other sources. You can also purchase athletic clothing that has reflective elements. Reflective clothing should be used in addition to lights rather than in lieu of lights. 
  • Watch out for fall hazards. Ride and sidewalk surfaces are much harder to see in the dark. Therefore you need to be especially watchful for potholes, cracks, and other hazards that could cause you to trip or fall from your bike. 

Injured in an Accident? Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer at The Law Offices of Thomas E. Pyles Today 

While some accidents just happen, others are preventable. If you have been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. An experienced personal injury lawyer from our firm can review your case and determine whether you have a claim. Contact us today at 301-705-5006 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and how we can help.