In 2009, 4,092 pedestrians were killed and 59,000 were injured in traffic crashes. Of those killed, 25 percent died between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and another 13 percent between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. NHTSA warns drivers that adjusting to the new low-light environment can take time, and that driving while distracted puts everyone – and especially pedestrians - at greater risk of death or injury. The agency also notes the importance for pedestrians of carrying a flashlight or wearing reflective gear or to make sure they’re visible to drivers at greater distances. Here are additional pointers.
- Slow down. During evening hours, you need more time to see a pedestrian in your path.
- Keep in mind that pedestrians who are wearing headphones, hats or earmuffs may not hear your vehicle as it approaches.
- Keep your windshield, windows, and mirrors clean. Make sure your defrosters and windshield wipers are working properly and that washer fluid is replaced as needed.
- Carry a flashlight or attach reflective materials - such as fluorescent tape - to clothing, backpacks, purses, and briefcases. These materials reflect light from headlights back to drivers, making it easier to see you.
- Don’t depend on the traffic signal to protect you. Motorists may be distracted, especially when adjusting to the nighttime travel environment.
- Avoid jaywalking and crossing between parked vehicles. Crosswalks offer a safer alternative.
- Walk on sidewalks whenever possible. If you must walk on the street, face traffic.