When the days are shorter during the fall and winter months, the possibility of sun glare while driving significantly increases. Everyone at some point has experienced how blinding the sun can be when it hits the windshield and shines directly in your eyes. You suddenly can barely see anything in front of you.
Sun glare conditions can be dangerous and cause serious car accidents and injuries. Drivers who cause a crash because they were blinded by bright sunlight may wonder whether they are excused from liability. On the surface, it may seem valid to argue that it was beyond the driver’s control. However, all drivers sharing the roadway have an obligation under the law to take precautions to avoid a crash – no matter the circumstance.
Below, our legal team further discusses liability for damages in a sun glare accident and how to drive safely when there is sun glare. You can learn more about your rights during a free initial consultation. Should you have a case and we represent you, there are zero upfront fees to use our legal services.
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There are many cases of car accidents each year caused by drivers who are unable to see due to the glare from the sun. Sun glare can impair a driver’s ability to be aware of others on the road.
Sun glare has been particularly linked to an increased risk of life-threatening car accidents. According to a study that analyzed patients hospitalized with crash-related injuries throughout Canada, the risk of serious injuries was 16 percent higher during bright sunlight than normal weather or cloudy days.
Depending on the angle of the sun’s rays and a driver’s surroundings, he or she can experience temporary blindness for more than a few seconds. In that amount of time, a driver may crash into another vehicle or object on the road, or hit a pedestrian or bicyclist traveling by.
Sun glare is especially hazardous in the wintertime when the sun is at a lower elevation and the sun is reflecting off the snow or ice on the ground. It can also happen at sunrise or sunset. Certain highways and roads without trees to provide shade can also increase the risk of a sun glare accident.
Sun glare is more likely to blind a driver when it is directly in front of the vehicle versus to the side of the vehicle.
It is assumed that drivers understand the possibility of sun glare and its ability to impair one’s vision while driving. All drivers have a responsibility to take necessary and reasonable precautions to avoid car accidents caused by sun glare. There is no change in the standard of care required by a driver under the law, and there is no law that exists that excuses a driver from liability in these cases.
This means that even when drivers do not have control over the glare caused by the sun, they may still be liable for damages in a crash. If another driver was at fault for your injuries in a sun glare accident, you may have a case for compensation. If you were at fault – partially or fully – you may still be able to recover damages, but you will need to go through your own insurance company to be compensated.
At-fault drivers may attempt to argue that because they were blinded by sunlight, they should not be to blame for a crash. A driver and his or her insurance company may say it was “beyond his or her control”.
This, however, is not a good defense. Sun glare is not an unusual or unpredictable event. Drivers are aware that during certain times of the day or year, there is a greater chance of encountering sun glare.
Here are several things drivers can do to minimize the impact of sun glare on the road and avoid a crash:
If you have been injured in a car accident, an experienced auto accident lawyer in Windsor is ready to review your situation and determine your eligibility for compensation. The initial consultation is free, and there is no obligation to hire our firm. We have helped recover millions for our clients over the years.
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