Driving is dangerous. On average, motorists are operating 3,000 pounds of metal that can easily crush any unfortunate human in their way. That is a lot of responsibility for a driver, especially at night. Even though there is 60% less traffic on the roads, nighttime accidents account for more than 40% of overall car accidents.
Although driving might feel almost leisurely at times, it is a complex task during which a driver must constantly remain alert to changes in the environment, pedestrians, other cars, and a variety of other factors. Human perceptual error is the biggest problem when it comes to driving at night. Different studies point to the fact that dim lighting hinders a driver’s ability to drive safely and avoid accidents. Other studies also show that pedestrians are three to seven times more vulnerable in the dark than in the daylight.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians at Night
There has been a lot of speculation as to why so many traffic injuries occur at night, and science points to a few different factors. Low luminance, also known as “night vision syndrome,” is one of the answers. This theory basically states that when it’s dark, humans have a much more difficult time processing information from low-contrast targets.
Walking at night is never ideal, but sometimes there is no other alternative. However, all of us should take some basic precautions to remain safe at night and help drivers to detect us:
- Wear very bright clothing and reflective materials.
- Always walk on the sidewalk. (Or facing traffic if there is no sidewalk).
- Cross the street in a well-lit area.
- Carry a flashlight.
- Don’t be distracted by your cellphone.
- Obey traffic signals.
- Don’t think a vehicle will stop for you.
- Stay alert to any noise.
- Don’t drink and walk.
- Don’t rely on traffic signals alone. Clear the road with your eyes first. Make sure ALL vehicles are at a full stop before crossing.
Safety Tips for Drivers at Night
Hitting a pedestrian is one of the scariest experiences a driver can go through. Not only would you feel the guilt of possibly severely harming another person, but you would be potentially exposing yourself to a major lawsuit if the victim decides to pursue charges against you.
But hitting a pedestrian should be avoidable if you stick to some simple road rules:
- Use your headlights.
- Keep a distance between your car and the car in front of you.
- Don’t speed.
- Stop completely at all intersections.
- Don’t ride the shoulder.
- Stay alert.
- Stay awake.
- Don’t drink and drive.
- Watch for pedestrians, especially children, especially in residential areas.
What to Do If You Are Struck by a Car at Night
If you are struck by a car, you should take these steps to protect yourself legally and financially:
- Stay calm and move out of the street, if possible.
- Keep the driver there, if possible.
- Call the police
- Collect the driver’s information and take photos.
- Collect any witness information
- Seek medical attention
- Call a lawyer.
You might be wondering if it’s worth trying to recover compensation when a driver might claim he didn’t see you at night, or if you were partially at fault for the accident. Don’t worry—even if the accident was partly your fault, you might still be entitled to compensation. New Jersey courts use a theory called “comparative fault” to figure out who is to blame for a given accident. This means fault is assigned in degrees. You might be assigned 20% of the blame and the driver might be assigned 80%, in which case you will get a 20% smaller settlement.
Have you or someone you care about been hit by a vehicle while walking at night? If the driver was to blame, please reach out to the experienced NJ pedestrian accident lawyers at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. We can help you file a claim in pursuit of full and fair compensation for the injuries and pain you suffered. To learn more about your rights and legal options, call us today at (609) 240-0040.