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Philadelphia accident attorneys warn: Poor driver visibility may put pedestrians at risk this fall

Philadelphia pedestrian accident attorney

The days are noticeably getting shorter, and in some cases, rain and fog are becoming a seasonal nuisance for drivers. This is concerning for pedestrian safety for two reasons:

  • Many people still prefer to get around by foot during the fall months.
  • Halloween is just around the corner.

Light conditions are a major factor in crashes involving pedestrians. Figures released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that in 2017:

  • 75 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred during dark conditions
  • During the fall months, 30 percent occurred between 6 p.m. - 8:59 p.m.
  • 80 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred in urban settings — where pedestrians are most present.
  • 18 percent occurred at intersections and 73 percent at non-intersections.

Out of the 5,977 pedestrians killed in 2017, nearly one-fifth of them were children ages 14 and under — the age group most likely to be out trick-or-treating on Halloween.

Overall, Pennsylvania had a total of 147 pedestrian fatalities in 2017 — a rate of 1.15 per 100,000 population. In New Jersey, that number was 183 — a rate of 2.03 per 100,000 population.

What are common factors in fatal pedestrian crashes during the fall?

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), drivers often experience a decline in depth perception, color recognition, and peripheral vision during dark conditions. With normal use of headlights, visibility for the average driver extends only as far as 250 feet. When headlights are activated, it doubles to 500 feet.

This significantly reduces reaction time. For this reason, pedestrians are at a greater risk of being hit while crossing the street or while walking on a road without a sidewalk. In order to prevent this, the NSC suggests these safety measures:

  • Ensure headlights are clean and properly aimed
  • Dim dashboard lights
  • Wear anti-reflective glasses
  • Keep windshields clean and clear of streaks
  • Slow down

Driving in dark conditions is especially problematic for drivers ages 60 and older. That's because, according to the American Optometric Association (AOA), eyesight starts to decline at that age. In addition, drivers over the age of 60 are likely to develop cataracts and degenerative eye diseases. In order to prevent crashes, the AOA suggests:

  • Having an annual vision exam
  • Reducing driving speed
  • Taking a driving course
  • Avoiding distractions and staying attentive
  • Being aware of side effects of prescription drugs
  • Limiting nighttime driving when possible

What to do if you were hurt in a pedestrian accident

Visibility challenges are inevitable this time of year, but drivers are still responsible for heeding warnings, giving themselves more time to reach their destination, and staying extra aware.

The attorneys at Villari, Brandes & Giannone, P.C. urge everyone to stay safe this Halloween and throughout the fall season. In the event that you or a loved one is injured after being hit by a car, contact our law firm to explore the legal options available to you. Our law offices are based in Philadelphia and Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, as well as Marlton, New Jersey.

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