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Nighttime Pedestrian Accidents: Visibility & Responsibility

By Eugene Bruno on May 21, 2024

Nighttime presents heightened risks for pedestrians due to reduced visibility. In fact, statistics show that a significant proportion of pedestrian fatalities occur during the darker hours, even though there’s less foot and vehicle traffic at these times.

When walking at night, pedestrians are more likely to suffer injuries caused by automobile collisions. Wearing reflective clothing increases pedestrian safety, but nighttime crashes involving pedestrians are often the result of negligent driver behavior, including DUI, distracted driving, speeding, and the failure to look out for pedestrians.

What Causes Nighttime Pedestrian Accidents?

Drivers have an obligation to exercise due care and avoid causing harm to pedestrians. This includes following speed limits, adhering to traffic signals, and being especially vigilant in low visibility conditions. Drivers must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and always watch for pedestrians.

Driver distraction can be particularly hazardous at night when the need for heightened awareness is already critical due to limited visibility. A momentary lapse of attention can mean missing the sight of a pedestrian crossing the street or walking alongside the road. The impact of these accidents extends beyond immediate injuries. Victims may face long-term disabilities, costly medical bills, emotional trauma, and other difficult outcomes.

Distracted driving intensifies the dangers that reduced visibility brings at night. Activities such as texting, using in-car entertainment systems, or simply daydreaming take a driver’s attention away from the road. That’s why California has a hands-free law that prohibits using a handheld device while driving.

Data from traffic safety sources indicate that DUI accidents account for a significant portion of pedestrian fatalities. Nighttime is when pedestrian accidents are most common — and it’s also when drivers are more likely to be impaired.

Alcohol and drugs severely affect a driver’s judgment, reaction time, and coordination. These impairments can lead to tragic mistakes, such as failing to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks, misjudging the speed or distance of a pedestrian, or losing control of the vehicle entirely. Intoxicated drivers have difficulty focusing on the road, making it harder to notice pedestrians, especially in poorly lit areas or where pedestrians are not expected.

Speeding is another major factor in these accidents. Higher speeds reduce the time drivers have to react to something they might only see at the last moment.

Reflective Clothing Increases Pedestrian Visibility

Reflective clothing and accessories serve as a simple yet powerful means of enhancing visibility at night for pedestrians. When a light source, such as car headlights, hits reflective material, it bounces back towards the source, making the wearer more visible. This retroreflection is highly beneficial for pedestrians who walk near traffic after dark.

Incorporating reflective materials into jackets, shoes, hats, and bags can make individuals visible from a greater distance, giving drivers more time to react. Adding reflective tape to bicycles and mobility aids like wheelchairs increases their visibility. When used correctly, reflective materials can make pedestrians visible to drivers up to 500 feet away. This distance allows for adequate reaction time, significantly reducing the chances that a collision will occur.

Were You Injured by a Careless Driver in San Diego?

The experienced San Diego pedestrian injury attorneys at Eugene Bruno & Associates are ready to help. We will investigate the accident and file a claim or lawsuit against anyone whose negligent actions contributed to your injuries. We stand up to the big insurance companies to help you get the money you need to care for yourself and your family.

Our firm has a 99.7% success rate, and Expertise.com recognizes Eugene Bruno & Associates as the best car accident lawyers in San Diego. You won’t owe us anything unless we win you a settlement. Call 1-888-BRUNO-88 (1-888-278-6688) to schedule a free consultation today.

Posted in: Pedestrian Accident