Last October, morning reports erupted on local television stations about
two high school students struck down by a motorist. The children were
high school freshmen on their way to school. The boys were last reported
to be recovering at a hospital.
The police did not cite the driver for any traffic violations but guess
what the stated cause of the accident is? The sun. During the morning
hours where the accident occurred, the sun rises directly into the faces
of oncoming drivers. Residents of the area have described the road conditions
as difficult and treacherous in the early morning hours.
Experienced Newburgh car accident attorneys know that sun glare is a big problem at sunrise, sunset, and especially
in the fall and spring seasons. One reason for this is because during
those times of year, the sun’s glare is at its worst during the
What happens if sun glare causes a car accident? Consider the event described
above. Can the driver in that accident be held liable for the children’s
damages, or will the dangerous sun conditions absolve the driver from
In New York, drivers must use reasonable care when operating a vehicle.
Reasonable care is a broad concept. It includes obeying traffic regulations,
of course. But being reasonable is also subjective and can depend on the
circumstances that exist when driving. Driving at the maximum speed limit
on a warm, dry day with little vehicle or pedestrian traffic seems perfectly
reasonable. Driving the same way when a blinding thunderstorm is occurring
may not be reasonable.
In short, being reasonable will depend upon the circumstances. A driver’s
duty of care requires adaptation to environmental stimuli. Drivers must
respond to environmental stimuli, as would any other reasonable and prudent
motorist faced with the same stimuli.
We humans cannot change the weather; we are expected to adapt. This is
exactly what New York courts will say about sun glare. Encountering sun
glare is not sudden, nor is it unexpected, according to the court. Motorists
know that the sun will impair the ability to see during the morning and
evening hours. As such, drivers are expected to adapt and respond reasonably
to the situation. Sun glare will not absolve or excuse motorists of liability
in the event a
car accident happens.
Therefore, motorists should wear sunglasses, use the sun visor, slow down
and even pull over at a safe place if sun glare conditions are too extreme.
Pedestrians too can do things to stay safe. They too know that sun glare
is dangerous and that drivers cannot see well. If the sun’s glare
makes it hard for pedestrians to see oncoming traffic, walkers should
not attempt to cross the road.
Learn more about springtime warm weather bringing people outdoors for fun
and, unfortunately, accidents in
our latest article posted here. Read about how more people walking outside leads to more car accidents
with pedestrians in
our blog posted here. Learn about who is liable for broken and cracked sidewalks in
our blog posted here. Read about sports injuries this spring in
our blog posted here.
Our personal injury attorneys at
Mainetti, Mainetti, and O’Connor, P.C. have over 100 years of combined experience working with victims of personal
injury accidents throughout New York. We understand how to effectively
represent clients who have been injured in serious car accidents, particularly
throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley region in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, and
Newburgh where we have offices. Hear
what our clients are saying about us here and learn about just some of our
successful results here. If you or a loved one has been injured in a personal injury accident,
please do not hesitate to contact us by calling 845-340-HURT (4878) or
toll free at 866-440-4452, or by using the
convenient contact form here.