October 1, 2015

When pedestrian accidents happen at night in Pennsylvania, drivers often claim that they never saw the people before hitting them. The most obvious reasons for this are that it’s dark, visibility is reduced, people and other objects become dim, and people who are wearing dark clothing blend right in. However, there are a few other issues as well.

One is that drivers usually don’t look right at pedestrians, instead picking them out with their peripheral vision. If a pedestrian is walking to cross the street and the driver is looking in a straight line ahead, as he or she has been taught to do, the pedestrian comes slowly into this range. When it’s dark, peripheral vision is drastically reduced, making pedestrians seem to “jump” out of nowhere.

Another issue is that the headlights on cars face the proper way to see other cars and the road, but they face the wrong way to see pedestrians. On top of that, headlights can’t be as bright as possible—which could help to expose pedestrians—because then they’d create such a blinding light that drivers coming the other way couldn’t see. With these low-powered headlights, it’s often possible for a car moving quickly to “overrun” the headlights, traveling to the maximum visibility distance before a driver has a chance to react.

Naturally, these reasons do not mean that drivers are not responsible. They need to know where pedestrians are likely to come from and they must know the limitations of their vehicles so as to drive safely. If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, you may have a right to seek financial compensation.

Source: Visual Expert, “Seeing Pedestrians At Night,” Marc Green, accessed Oct. 01, 2015