In Southern California, it’s a fact of life that bright sunlight will sometimes catch drivers in the eyes. Particularly in the early morning and at sunset — basically, during morning and even rush hours — the sun can literally be blinding. This appears to have been the case in a recent pedestrian accident in Temecula that ended with the hospitalization of two local women.
An area woman had been traveling westbound on Pauba Road at about 6:00 p.m. on Monday, according to a spokesperson for the Temecula Police. The sun was bright in the west. Unfortunately, as the road reached the bottom of a hill at the intersection with Elinda Road, the sun disappeared behind overhanging trees.
“As the driver transitioned from having direct sunlight in their eyes into the shaded area,” reads a Temecula Police press release, “the driver drifted into the bicycle lane and struck two female pedestrians who were walking westbound within the bicycle lane.”
One of the women was thrown a substantial distance when the car hit her and sustained major injuries. Luckily, only the car’s passenger-side mirror struck the other woman, so her injuries were more moderate. Both, however, had to be hospitalized.
Based on the press release, it does not appear the driver will be charged in connection with the pedestrian accident. She could, however, face a personal injury lawsuit brought by one or both of the women.
This is such an “ordinary” accident. The driver may not have done anything particularly blameworthy, but two people still ended up in the hospital. Take a moment to remind yourself that it’s all too easy to allow a momentary visual obstruction to affect our driving, so think ahead.
Source: San Diego Union-Tribune, “Driver blinded by sunlight strikes two women,” Jeff Sanders, March 12, 2013