Nighttime Truck Accident Lawyers

According to the National Safety Council, 50 percent of traffic deaths will occur at night. At the same time, however, drivers only spend about a quarter of their time driving at night. That means that statistically, the likelihood of an accident is almost doubled at night for every driver. Because truck accidents are often more severe compared to passenger vehicle crashes, a nighttime accident with a truck is even more likely to result in a serious or life-threatening injury. If you have been involved in an accident with a truck, truck accident lawyers may be able to review your situation and outline your legal rights for you. Learn more from Shepherd and Long, PC, by calling (865) 982-8060 to schedule your personal consultation.An overturned trailer truck on the shoulder of a highway.

What Causes Nighttime Truck Accidents? 

Nighttime driving is dangerous for several reasons. Some of the most common reasons that evening accidents occur are addressed here.

Decreased Visibility 

The ability to see is critical to driving. When a driver’s sight distance is reduced by darkness, so is the reaction time available for them to respond to a road hazard and avoid an accident. Normal headlights only light up the road about 250 feet in front of the driver, and high beams only generally extend about 500 feet, which makes visibility a serious concern at night.

Compromised Vision Due to Age

As individuals age, they often have a harder time seeing at night. By the age of 50, a driver may need twice as much light to see as well as might someone twenty years younger. The American Optometric Association reports that vision will often significantly decline at the age of 60. Older individuals are also more likely to suffer from age-related vision conditions, including:

  • Age-related macular degeneration (also known as AMD)
  • Cataracts
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Dry eyes
  • Glaucoma
  • Retinal detachment

According to the American Trucking Associations, the average age of a trucker who works over the road is 46. Older truckers, simply by the numbers, are more likely to have vision issues. While the Department of Transportation attempts to combat vision problems by keeping vision-impaired drivers off the road, those safety measures do not always work.


Driving at night also increases the likelihood that a driver is tired behind the wheel. This can be especially true for truckers, who may be driving for several hours at a time. According to one survey by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration entitled the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, roughly 13% of commercial vehicle drivers were fatigued when a crash occurred. 

Impaired Drivers

Impaired drivers are more likely to be on the road at night. An impaired driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription drugs. Drivers impaired through substance use are most likely to be on the road between the hours of midnight and 3 am on the weekends, and truck drivers are not immune to this statistic. In addition, a truck driver may have to react to an impaired driver on the road to avoid an accident, which unfortunately can lead to crashing into others or overturning their trailer. 

Dangers for Nighttime Truck Driving

Sharing the road with a truck at night can be very dangerous to other, smaller vehicles. Large trucks are harder to maneuver and slow down even in full daylight. When a truck driver attempts to avoid a crash at night, they not only have to deal with the mass, aerodynamics, and wide turning radius of the vehicle itself, but also the decreased visibility that usually reduces reaction time. Many of the same dangers that are present during the day pose elevated risks at night. If you have been involved in an accident with a truck, you may want to consider discussing the situation with Shephard and Long, PC to discuss your situation and review your legal rights. 

Blind Spots

Semi-trucks have large blind spots. These blind areas are usually along the right front quarter of a truck and the left rear corner. Directly behind the truck is also a blind spot area as well. Other drivers should follow the rule that if they cannot see the truck’s mirrors, the truck driver likely cannot see them. 

While headlights certainly help address some of the visibility concerns with blind spots, the risk does not go away. Instead, lights sometimes bounce off of mirrors or other cars, making it harder to determine where a car is or how close it may be. Drivers in other vehicles around trucks should use extra caution when following or passing semi-trucks at night. 

Oncoming Car Headlights

Depending on the position of the headlights, truck lights can be dangerous for other vehicles. They can cause temporary blindness that can lead to accidents. Drivers sharing the road with trucks should be sure to avoid looking directly into truck headlights. All drivers should also ensure their headlights are aligned correctly and cleaned regularly.

Right Turns

Large trucks need more room to make a right-hand turn compared to the average passenger vehicle. Limited visibility, especially peripheral visibility, can make this challenging turn even more difficult at night. 

Passenger vehicle drivers should take care to avoid passing a truck on the right. In fact, it may be helpful to move away from the right side of a truck while approaching an intersection to avoid getting caught between the truck and a curb.

Visibility Signals for Semi-Trucks

Many rules and regulations affect semi-truck drivers, including lighting requirements. When an individual is involved in a collision with a truck, one of the first things that truck accident lawyers will often review is whether the truck driver was complying with all of their legal requirements. 

For instance, the trailer may have been subject to specific regulatory requirements for lights or reflective coating. If a trailer did not meet those requirements and this non-compliance contributed to an accident, that can increase the likelihood of a successful claim in some situations. Examples of lighting requirements for semi-trucks might include:

  • Tail lamps
  • Stop lamps
  • Reflex reflectors on all sides
  • Warning flashers
  • Side marker lamps
  • Conspicuity tape

Lighting requirements often vary based on the truck’s size, the type of load, and the location where they are driving. Requirements vary at the federal and state levels as well.

Get Help With Your Truck Accident Claim

Trucks and truckers perform essential services, working around the clock to ensure that food, medicine, and other supplies reach their destinations on time and in good condition. However, driving at night does pose extra hazards compared to daytime travel, and those risks can be exacerbated by the size, weight, and limited maneuverability of large trucks. Truck accident lawyers may be a helpful resource to address questions about your rights after a truck accident. Consider contacting Shepherd and Long, PC, for more information by calling (865) 982-8060.