The recent sunny skies have been a welcome change after the long winter we endured in Scotland this year and when you consider road hazards, you may expect we have moved on from the dangerous weather. However, bright sun can also be a significant problem for drivers.
It is often the case that drivers forget to adjust their driving style according to the weather conditions. At other times, it is simply a case that it was a major contributing factor in coming to a conclusion on how an accident came about.
In order to establish liability against a driver whose actions have resulted in personal injury, it is necessary to prove that they were negligent. However establishing ‘legal fault’ implies volition on the part of the driver, or the ability to decide to act in a certain way. In certain circumstances, the defence of ‘automatism’ may be relevant, which is the term used to describe an act done by a person who is not able to control what they are doing and is commonly used in road traffic accident cases. Ultimately, if successful, the defence of automatism means that someone cannot be held responsible for their actions where they have experienced total loss of control through no fault of their own. This may include cases of blackouts or sneezing fits as well as physical illness. However, all the relevant circumstances require to be taken into consideration.
In these circumstances, it will be up to the Defender to prove on the balance of probabilities that they suffered a total loss of control. It is also important to consider the sequence of events leading up to the collision.
At Jackson Boyd, we deal regularly with disputes relating to road traffic collisions and we will consider the specific facts of your case and advise you on liability appropriately.
Essentially, if for example a driver is travelling and suddenly loses sight of the road due to the low sun glare, they must also be aware that the law may well hold them responsible for causing an accident, even if [in their own opinion] the accident was unavoidable.
When driving in bright and low sun, there are steps that you can take to avoid accidents:
- Remember that other drivers may also be suffering from the blinding effects of glare and seek to remain a constant speed and maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead;
- Make sure your windscreen and other windows are clean as dirt and debris scatter sunlight and lower visibility further;
- Slow down! The quicker you are driving, the more likely you are to lose control.
- Don’t panic. It is easy to slam on the brakes, or turn the steering wheel to one side if you feel like you are losing control.
If you have been involved in an accident in sunny weather, we can help you with your case. Contact us online by clicking here or speak to a member of our specialist team on 0333 222 1855.