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The Danger of 'Overdriving Your Headlights'

Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook

One of the many things that plays role in the unique beauty of San Francisco, is the fog that regularly makes its way into the city. It was once described as pleasing itself with its dramatic entry through the harp strings of the Golden Gate Bridge. Unfortunately, despite the picturesque nature of the fog, it can pose a fatal risk for drivers in the Bay area.

What Does It Mean to "Overdrive Your Headlights"?

car driving down a dark wet street at nightMany drivers fail to obey the speed limit even when conditions are perfect, daylight hours, no fog, and dry pavement. Some of these drivers will speed even when conditions call for driving at below the posted speed limit. It is often called 'overdriving your headlights' when a driver's visibility is limited due to fog or darkness, but the driver still drives at a speed which does not allow them the ability to stop in time to avoid obstacles in the road. This type of driving has the potential to cause catastrophic motor vehicle accidents.

Why Is Overdriving Your Headlights Particularly Dangerous At Night?

When driving at night, your ability to see the road and obstacles around you has already been drastically diminished. Headlights on low beam only extend about 200 feet in front of the driver. And high beams only illuminate up to 500 feet. If you are driving too fast, your headlights will not illuminate any potential obstacles (pedestrians, animals, road obstructions, etc.) until it is too late for your brain to send the signal to your body to step on the brakes. This makes avoiding an accident nearly impossible.

Not to mention, as people get older, their ability to see well in the dark becomes less and less effective as their eyes change with age.

How Can You Avoid Overdriving Your Headlights?

The best way to ensure you are not overdriving your headlights is to be sure you are able to stop within the illuminated area your headlights cast. The best way to test this is by picking an object on the side of the road as soon as your headlights pick it up (this could be a road sign, a reflective post, etc.) and count how many seconds it takes for you to pass the object. If you pass the object in less than 6 seconds, you are most likely driving too fast for your headlights and would not be able to stop in time if the object was a road hazard.

If you or a family member have been injured in a car accident caused by reckless driving, reach out to the injury lawyers at Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook today for a free initial case evaluation.