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Why Do People Drive Without Their Lights On at Night?

By The Husband and Wife Law Team on May 30, 2023

A car in the middle of a field in the dusk with its lights off

At one time, driving at night without headlights was a mistake drivers rarely made. In older model vehicles, the dashboard remains dark until you turn the headlights on, which is an automatic reminder. You may have noticed more people driving at night without headlights recently. There are two reasons why this serious driving error is occurring more frequently today:

  • Auto manufacturers have developed high-gauge clusters with dashboard lights that remain on day or night, so there is no dark dashboard to remind drivers to turn their headlights on.
  • Daytime running lamps, designed to improve visibility during the day, may lead drivers to believe their headlights are on because the roadway ahead is lit, while their tail lights remain off until the headlights are activated.

When Are You Supposed to Turn Your Headlights On in Arizona?

Drivers in Arizona are required to have their headlights on from sundown to sunrise. Headlights must be on when visibility is less than 500 feet ahead and whenever there is snow or ice. In addition, six signs instructing drivers to use their headlights in the daytime have been installed on State Route 169, as reported by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). These signs were placed between the junction with SR 69 in Dewey-Humboldt and the junction with Interstate 17 north of Cordes junction. The purpose is to increase visibility and safety after eight head-on collisions, five of which were fatal, occurred on SR 169 in five years.

How Is Liability Affected by Failure to Have Your Lights On?

Drivers have a duty of care to others on the road. They are required to exercise the same care that a reasonably prudent person would use under the same circumstances. Drivers are required to follow the rules of the road, which include turning headlights on after sundown and when it is appropriate. Failure to do so puts others on the road at risk. A driver who is involved in an accident while driving without headlights after dark may be found negligent and liable for resulting injuries.

What Compensation Is Available If You Have Been Injured by a Driver With His Lights Off?

If you were injured in an accident caused by a driver who failed to turn on the vehicle’s headlights after dark or when otherwise required by law, you may have a claim for compensation against the at-fault driver. Damages you may be entitled to claim will depend on the circumstances of your case and the nature and severity of your injuries. Common damages include:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages or earnings
  • Loss of future earning potential
  • Pain and suffering
  • Other losses

How Can an Attorney Help After a No-Headlights Car Accident?

Our experienced personal injury lawyers can investigate your accident to determine what caused it and who is liable. We can secure evidence to support your claim, assess the full extent of your damages, and negotiate skillfully with the insurance company on your behalf for a fair settlement. Insurance companies are in business for profit, intending to pay out as little in claims as possible. Your best chance of recovering full compensation for your injuries is to have an experienced Phoenix car accident attorney handling your case.

The Husband & Wife Law Team practices only personal injury and wrongful death law. We are award-winning Arizona lawyers who fight for justice and our clients’ peace of mind. If you have been injured in an accident involving a vehicle with its headlights off at night, call us to schedule a free consultation at (602) 457-6222.

Posted in: Auto Accident

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