Safety Tips For Pedestrian Travel After Dark During National Pedestrian Safety Month
Written by Cooper & Friedman PLLC on October 25, 2021
October is National Pedestrian Safety Month across the U.S. with the goal of increasing awareness about the importance of pedestrian safety and to make sure drivers remember to keep an eye out for pedestrians and cyclists every time they are operating their vehicle. Every year thousands of pedestrians are injured, many seriously, and some even killed, by motor vehicle accidents. Many of these tragedies can be avoided if people pay closer attention and take more precautions to keep roadways safer.
Unfortunately, according to the data, pedestrian-related accidents are on the increase in the U.S. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) projects there were 6,721 pedestrian deaths in the U.S. in 2020 – a 5% increase from the previous year, with 6,412 fatalities reported by the State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs). This is particularly striking because of the large decline in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 2020. The pedestrian fatality rate in the U.S. was 2.3 per billion VMT in 2020, compared to 1.9 in 2019, a 21% year over year increase.
While pedestrian accidents can occur at any time of day, nighttime presents added risks and dangers due to the obvious visibility issues.
As accident attorneys representing seriously injured people across the state of Kentucky for decades, the lawyers at Cooper and Friedman PLLC understand the seriousness of pedestrian safety. If you are a pedestrian out in the evening or early morning hours while it is still dark outside, follow along for some helpful suggestions to try to increase your safety.
6 Suggestions For Pedestrians To Increase Safety When Outside After Dark
1. Consider wearing a headlamp or carrying a flashlight – While it may seem awkward at first, if you are planning on being outside jogging or walking for extended periods of time after dark, you may want to consider buying and wearing a headlamp or carrying a flashlight. Not only will the added light make your own path more visible, so that you are less likely to stumble and fall, it also makes you easier to see for nearby vehicles.
2. Dress in briger colored clothing – Regardless of whether you are exercising, waiting for a bus, or walking to work, wearing brighter colored clothing if you are a pedestrian during evening hours can help to make you more visible to vehicles. Even a brightly colored jacket, hat or shirt can make a huge difference if visibility is not good.
3. Cross streets at marked intersections – Even if you think that you are alone on the roads and that a street is safe to cross, it is always advisable to wait for an intersection, especially at night. It is very easy to be taken by surprise by a vehicle that is moving more quickly than you realize, or one that is pulling out from a parking spot. You also should account for the possibility that you could trip and fall unexpectedly. If you are in a marked intersection, which is typically better lit, you are much more likely to be seen by drivers, especially during evening hours.
4. Pay attention to your surroundings. As tempting as it may be to listen to music on your phone, wear headphones, or read text messages, it is important that you aware of your surroundings if you are a pedestrian out on the streets, especially after dark. Being able to hear and see what is going on around you will give you a much greater awareness about coming traffic, including warning sounds like sirens, horns honking or screeching tires.
5. When you see a driver, try to acknowledge the driver, and make eye contact if possible. While you may not always have the ability to make eye contact with drivers when you are a pedestrian on the roadways, this can greatly increase your safety since it gives you the peace of mind to feel as though you are visible and have been seen. Sometimes stopping at marked crosswalks to try to make this happen, even when you have the right of way, is a much safer approach when you are trying to cross a street.
6. Travel with other people if possible. Though you may sometimes need to travel after dark solo as a pedestrian, when possible, it is advisable to travel with other people. Having a travel companion, or even being a pedestrian in a small group, can make a huge difference in terms of visibility and ensuring that cars, trucks, busses, and other vehicles can see you.
If you or someone you love is ever in a pedestrian accident in Kentucky, the experienced team at Cooper and Friedman PLLC can help. We have decades of experience fighting for the rights of accident victims in Louisville, Kentucky and across the state. We handle your case personally and you can always be sure that our attorneys will be responsive to your phone calls and inquiries. For more information, or to schedule a free case consultation with a Kentucky injury attorney, give us a call at 502-459-7555 or contact us by email today.