Pedestrians are at the greatest risk of injury or death from a traffic accident during twilight and at daybreak when visibility is limited. When a motor vehicle strikes a pedestrian, it’s the pedestrian who suffers the greatest injuries. Avoiding walking, jogging, and running during the most dangerous times of day can dramatically cut the risk of a serious pedestrian-vehicle accident.
Low-Light Conditions Means Limited Visibility
Roughly 30% of all motor vehicle and pedestrian collisions occur between the hours of 6 pm and 8 pm during the winter months, and between 8 pm and 10 pm during the summer. These hours represent times when the sun is either rising, setting, or well beneath the horizon. This limits motorist’s and pedestrian’s visibility, which can increase the risk of a collision.
Daybreak is also a dangerous time for pedestrians, with roughly one in every five accidents occurring during this period. Between the hours of 4 am and 6 am in the summer, and 5 am and 7 am during the winter, the sun rising over the horizon can obscure the view of motorists and pedestrians alike. Moreover, these times typically coincide with shift changes, which means there are more drowsy, distracted drivers on the road during this period of the day.
Finally, late-night walks are just as dangerous as those during regular hours. Approximately 20% of pedestrian-vehicle accidents occur between the hours of 12 am and 3 am. This is “closing time,” which means many pedestrians are walking home from the bars, and many bar patrons are getting behind the wheel. The combination of alcohol and limited visibility creates a potentially fatal situation.
Staying Safe While Going for a Stroll
Maximizing visibility is essential for reducing the risk of a pedestrian accident. When going for a walk, pedestrians should always wear brightly colored clothing and stick to well-lit paths, sidewalks, and trails. It is also important for pedestrians to avoid distractions including talking on the phone, listening to music, and texting. A moment’s lapse in concentration is all it takes to miss an oncoming vehicle.
Pedestrians should avoid crossing at poorly lit intersections and jaywalking. It is advisable for individuals to stay clear of high-traffic roads, roads that are poorly maintained, and roads with considerable blind spots. These roads typically have higher accident rates and avoiding them can significantly reduce the risk of a pedestrian-motor vehicle accident.