From electric cars to talking crosswalk signals, the automotive world is improving and changing every year. Technology as a whole has come so far, and now car companies and city planners alike can leverage it. This means that safety features are being modernized and invented at a rapid pace, which is great news for all of us who get on the roads – whether as passengers, drivers, cyclists, or pedestrians – every single day.
Now, some may notice that these improvements — while great — seem to only be applied to new technology, while old staples of the modern vehicle largely stay the same. You’re not alone; a lot of people are noticing. How often have you been driving peacefully down the freeway at night, only for someone with LED lights brighter than the sun come up behind you? It’s happened to just about everyone. When we think about innovation, we need to think about improving the old technology too. Of course we need headlights, and of course we need high beams. But there must be a better, safer way, right?
How too-bright headlights can cause accidents
It is an odd phenomenon. There are a lot of complaints about too-bright headlights and how they can stun, blind, and disorient other drivers, but it is very rarely included in discussions about improving safety features. This should change. In fact, if you can excuse the pun, it should be highlighted. Too much of a good thing can be more than annoying — it can be dangerous.
We obviously need to see in order to drive. When headlights of the car behind us are too bright, especially if they’re driving too close for comfort, the glare in our mirrors can quite literally be blinding. Over 50 percent of car accidents happen at night, and it is safe to say that too-bright headlights may be responsible for part of that — especially in areas where simply changing lanes isn’t an option, and streetlights are minimal. The sudden blue light of LED headlights on winding roads in near or complete darkness can, frankly, stun you and lead to a collision, with a fixed object, an animal, or even another car.
Here in Tennessee, there are an unfortunate number of car accidents every year — over 175,000 in 2020. Those of us on the roads need to remain constantly vigilant and aware of our surroundings and other drivers. In the same vein, the technology we use to keep ourselves safe should not be so easily turned into an accident waiting to happen.
New headlight technology can mitigate some risk
The good news is the technology for safer headlights does exist — it’s just new, and not quite here yet. Luckily, while headlights aren’t typically mentioned in broader discussions about automotive safety, experts have still been innovating behind the scenes. For example, in the last five years high-beam assist has become more and more available on more and more vehicles. This feature senses oncoming cars and switches high-beams to low to prevent from blinding other drivers. While not exactly fixing the problem with LED lights, it does mitigate the risk in general.
Over in Europe, many vehicles also have something called adaptive driving beams, which are a more advanced version of high-beam assist. Adaptive driving beams can recognize other vehicles and prevent glare, while maintaining high-beam illumination everywhere else. This is certainly exciting, especially because we will finally get to experience it ourselves in a few years. The new infrastructure bill legalizes the use of adaptive beams here in the United States. While it could still be about two years before we actually see this rolled out, it’s still a promising look into the future of headlight safety.
In the meantime, and while the specific issue of people tailgating with blinding LED lights persists, know the risks of the road when you’re on it. Car accidents, regardless of the cause, can have expensive, life-altering, and painful consequences. Even if an attorney cannot go after someone for using LED lights, one can absolutely hold someone accountable for reckless driving and make sure you are awarded the damages owed to you.
The most common injuries caused by car accidents include brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and whiplash. Any one of these alone can mean years and years of expensive and invasive treatments, putting you out of work for months or longer. In some cases, especially when one suffers multiple severe injuries, the consequences are permanent. Perhaps you can never work in your chosen field again. Perhaps you will need a caretaker for the rest of your life. The carelessness of another should not have that much power, but the sad reality is that it very much does.
Those lost wages and those medical bills should not be on you to pay, and they don’t have to be. Choosing a personal injury attorney means choosing protection for your rights, your finances, and your health. An experienced attorney knows how to go over the details of your case with a fine-toothed comb to make sure justice is properly served, and how to make sure you are informed every step along the way.
At Shepherd & Long, P.C., our aggressive Maryville personal injury attorneys take your injuries as seriously as you do. We want to make sure you can focus on yourself and your recovery without worrying about affording it. We want to make sure the person responsible cannot hurt you, or anyone else, again. Most of all, we want you to know that we are here for you. That is why we make sure we are widely available throughout Blount County and East Tennessee. To learn more about how we can help, call us today at 865-982-8060 or use our contact form (even if you use LEDs).