New Mexico Motor Vehicle Accidents Caused at Night

- Mark Caruso

Night Driving Carries Different Risks and is More Likely to Cause a New Mexico Motor Vehicle Accident

We all know that driving at night is more difficult than driving during the day because it carries different risks.  The most obvious risk is visibility.  Without the sunlight, it is harder to see other vehicles, pedestrians, the roadway, and other hazards on or around the road.  Driving safely and complying with your duty of care in driving is to see what there is to be seen, and failing to do so can result in negligence and serious personal injuries or even wrongful death.

This is why NM Stat. 66-3-802 requires all motor vehicles to use headlamps half an hour after sunset and half an hour before sunrise.  This section of law also requires drivers to use lights “when there is not sufficient light to render clearly discernible persons or vehicle on the highway at a distance of five hundred feet.”  This applies to all motor vehicles, from cars and motorcycles to large commercial trucks or tankers.

When a vehicle is disabled on the roadway when this section of law requiring headlights to be on, according to NM Stat. 66-3-853 the disabled vehicle also needs to use emergency flashers and either a lighted fusee, lighted red electric lantern, or a red emergency reflector one hundred feet behind their vehicle and ahead of their vehicle (for oncoming vehicles), and again not less than 10 feet to the front or  rear of their vehicle.

Disabled commercial motor vehicles such as large tractor trailers, big rigs, 18-wheelers, tankers, flatbeds, tandem trailers, and other large trucks also need to use emergency flashers under federal regulations pursuant to 49 CFR 392.22.  The type and placement is similar to the New Mexico statute.  The goal is to prevent serious personal injuries from New Mexico trucking crashes.

Common Causes of New Mexico Crashes During the Night

Because of decreased visibility, there are more common causes of accidents involving disability and sight.  These include the following causes of accidents:

  • Failure to yield;
  • Failure to have headlights on;
  • Failure to use emergency flashers for disabled vehicle;
  • Broken headlight;
  • Dim or improperly covered headlights;
  • Failure to use emergency warning signs after disabled;
  • Failure to stop at a stop sign or red light;
  • Improper merge;
  • Unsafe left turn;
  • Crashes at exits or entrance ramps to the highway or interstate, such as I-40, I-10, and I-25;
  • Collisions with animals at night;
  • Pedestrian knockdowns at night;
  • Distracted driving;
  • Failure to follow signage; and
  • Other common causes of traffic accidents.

New Mexico Law Requires Vehicles to be Visible, a Failure of Which Can Result in Serious New Mexico Accidents Causing Permanent Disability or Wrongful Death

Motor vehicle accidents caused at night without headlights or due to these causes may result in liability, and an injured victim should call for experienced legal counsel.  If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, call the experienced New Mexico car accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. today by dialing (505) 883-5000 You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.