October 13, 2016

In the struggling economic environment of today, many Pennsylvania residents choose to walk or bike to their destinations. While most of these activities occur during the day, more and more pedestrians are taking the road at night as well. Walking is cost-effective, of course, but it is also good for your overall health. However, there are dangers inherent to walking at night and one of these is poor visibility.

There have been many studies aimed at identifying visibility factors for nighttime drivers. The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, published an abstract of one such study in its Journal of Vision. The study tested the how drivers see pedestrians at night and involved several factors such as driver age, distance from pedestrians and the clothing configuration of the pedestrians. The ability of drivers to detect pedestrians was significantly improved when the pedestrians were wearing reflective clothing.

Most all safety-focused organizations recommend the use of reflective gear or clothing to reduce or prevent pedestrian accidents. Used in tandem with other pedestrian safety measures like crossing only at designated locations and facing oncoming traffic while walking, reflective gear does appear to be a major factor in preventing pedestrian accidents. You can do your own testing as well. Most traffic signs are reflective so you can begin to notice how long it takes you to spot these signs while driving. You should notice that they are bright and easy to see in your vehicle’s headlights.

If you enjoy walking at night, remember to practice safety at all times and make sure you are easily visible. Those who have already been injured in a pedestrian accident will benefit from speaking with a personal injury attorney about their case.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Walk This Way! Taking Steps for Pedestrian Safety,” accessed Oct. 13, 2016