Dangers for Pedestrians during the Dark Time of Year

Dark Routes, Bright Clothing

30. Nov 2017

The winter months are a dangerous time for pedestrians. In the twilight and in the dark, the risk of not being seen in the traffic increases – the situation is particularly dangerous for senior citizens.

Dark street with Pedestrians

  • Senior citizens are particularly at risk
  • Bright shoes are spotted particularly quickly
  • Reflectors on walking aids are a safety factor

In 2016, half of the 490 fatal pedestrian accidents in total took place in twilight or in the dark, according to official statistics. Accidents occur mostly when the driver has not seen the pedestrian. “Drivers cannot see as well in the dark and experience a constant change between light and dark. As a result, the narrow silhouette of a pedestrian is more difficult to spot,” explains Stefanie Ritter from DEKRA accident research.

“Pedestrians must ensure that they are always clearly visible to others in the dark,” emphasizes the accident researcher. As well as bright, contrasting clothing, reflecting elements are suitable: Luminescent strips, high-visibility vests, small red flashing lights on bicycles, and stickers on clothes and bags. “Fashionable white strips on shoes can even be considered a life-saver on dark routes,” says Ritter. The reason: Car headlights light up the white shoes first. Therefore, the drivers can recognize quickly that there is a pedestrian ahead. “Bright on the lower half of the body is more important than bright on the upper half!”

As pedestrians, senior citizens have a double handicap in the dark. Eyesight gets worse with age. Additionally, it also becomes more difficult for the eye to adapt to the change between the bright headlight and the darkness. This is what can lead to “night blindness.” Additionally, it is often the case that older people can cross the road only slowly.

Therefore, it is highly dangerous to cross the road in poorly lit areas or to step out onto the road from behind parked cars or anything else that could hinder visibility. If a crosswalk or traffic lights are not present, it is recommended to cross the road directly in the light of the streetlights.

Rushing is often a trigger for dangerous situations. Before crossing, people should take enough time to observe the traffic closely and to wait for the suitable moment. People using walking aids, rollators, or wheelchairs should make sure that they are equipped with noticeable reflective elements.

Pedestrians must heed the following:

  • Pedestrians must always be clearly visible to drivers.
  • Bright, noticeable clothing with reflective elements on clothing, shoes, hats, and bags provide more safety.
  • White shoes can be a life-saver: “Bright on the lower half of the body is more important than bright on the upper half.”
  • Cross the road only in well-lit areas where you can see the traffic and the traffic can see you; use a crosswalk or pedestrian lights.
  • Do not rush before crossing the road. Observe the traffic closely.
  • Do not step onto the road from behind anything that obstructs visibility.

Contact:

Tilman Vögele-Ebering

Press officer Industrial

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Phone +49.711.7861-2122

Fax +49.711.7861-742122

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Dark street with pedestrians

Dangers for Pedestrians during the Dark Time of Year

The winter months are a dangerous time for pedestrians. In the twilight and in the dark, the risk of not being seen in the traffic increases.

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