Not only can the hustle and bustle of city life be exhausting, but it can also be dangerous for pedestrians, especially during sunrise and sunset. In crowded city areas, such as uptown Charlotte, countless people walk to and from their cars, restaurants, bars, and workplaces during these times of the day. Sunrise and sunset are also popular times for runners who want to squeeze in a quick run before or after work.
With so many pedestrians out and about at sunrise and sunset and countless drivers rushing to and from work, pedestrian accidents are most likely to happen at dawn and dusk. But the traffic at twilight isn’t the only factor that makes these times so dangerous.
Keep reading to learn more about why twilight is so dangerous to pedestrians, how to improve pedestrian safety, and what to do if you’ve been in an accident as a pedestrian.
RELATED ARTICLE: North Carolina Is Among the Most Dangerous States for Pedestrians
Why Are Sunrise and Sunset Such Dangerous Times for Pedestrians?
Heavy vehicle and foot traffic aren’t the only factors that make sunrise and sunset such dangerous times for pedestrians. Other factors also exacerbate the situation.
Drivers are tired
At sunrise, drivers may have just rolled out of bed, and the coffee might not have kicked in yet. It can take people hours to fully wake up in the morning, meaning their reaction times are slower and they may not be as aware of their surroundings. Likewise, by sunset, many people begin to wind down, and they’re exhausted from a hard day at work.
The sun is blinding
Sunglasses can only do so much for drivers when the sun is shining directly into their eyes, as it tends to do at sunrise and sunset. Even if the driver is paying attention, momentary blindness at just the wrong time can have devastating consequences.
Commuters are rushing
Whether we’re trying to get to work on time, get kids to school or pick them up, or just want to get home as soon as possible so we can relax, commuters tend to be in a rush, and heavy traffic times often fall around sunrise and sunset. When drivers rush, they not only drive faster but also tend to be more impatient and impulsive.
North Carolina Pedestrian Laws and Why They Matter
Understanding who has the right-of-way is the first step toward protecting pedestrians. Remember:
- Pedestrians have the right-of-way at intersections and driveways but are still legally obligated to follow walk/don’t walk signals.
- Vehicles have the right-of-way everywhere else, so if crossing anywhere other than a crosswalk, pedestrians must yield to vehicles.
- Pedestrians are required to walk on a sidewalk if available and on the road facing traffic if there is no sidewalk.
How Contributory Negligence Can Affect Your Case
In addition to helping keep pedestrians safe by making sure everyone is on the same page, pedestrian laws are extremely important in states like North Carolina that follow pure contributory negligence laws. Under pure contributory negligence, if an injured party files a personal injury claim against a negligent party but is found to be even 1% responsible for their own injuries, they cannot receive any compensation.
RELATED ARTICLE: How Do Pedestrians Get Compensated for Accident Injuries?
For instance, if you are injured crossing at an intersection while there is an active don’t walk signal, it will be difficult for you to recover any compensation since you had a legal duty to obey the walk signals. A jury may find you partially responsible for your injuries.
Likewise, if you cross somewhere other than a crosswalk and get injured, the insurance defense attorney will argue that you were obligated to yield to traffic. Also, if you were talking or texting on your phone, they’ll throw in an argument for not paying reasonable attention to your surroundings.
Either way, you will face the defense of contributory negligence, which will make a recovery much more difficult. Because the defense only needs to prove that you were 1% responsible to deprive you of your rightful compensation and because insurance companies do everything they can to deny any compensation, obeying the pedestrian laws and contacting an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an injury is essential to the success of your personal injury case.
Safety Tips for Drivers and Pedestrians
The number one safety tip for both pedestrians and drivers is to remain aware. Know and understand the risks of driving and walking at twilight, and always pay extra attention to your surroundings.
How Drivers Can Help Keep Pedestrians Safe
- Reduce glare from the sun by keeping the inside and outside of your car windows clean.
- In addition to wearing sunglasses, position your car’s visor to block the sun whenever possible.
- Always be extra careful when turning a corner or entering an intersection, as these areas make it even harder to notice pedestrians crossing the road.
- Stay off of your phone while driving. Texting while driving takes your eyes off the road and causes distractions.
Pedestrians: Keep a Lookout and Don’t Trust Drivers
- Never assume a car is going to stop when you are crossing the road. Always wait until you are sure they can see you and have come to a complete stop before beginning to cross.
- Only cross the road at crosswalks. Drivers expect to see pedestrians at designated crossing areas but may not react in time if you cross the road elsewhere.
- Avoid distractions such as texting or talking on your phone, listening to music, or digging through your bag when walking in high traffic areas or crossing a road.
- Never trust a turn signal. Even if the car is approaching the intersection and has a turn signal on, wait until you are sure the car is actually turning. The driver may have not turned off the turn signal or may be lost and not sure where to turn.
Myers Law Firm: Representing Injured Pedestrians in Charlotte and Throughout Mecklenburg County
If you’ve been injured as a pedestrian in the Charlotte area and want to seek compensation for your injuries, you’ll need a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney to help you fight claims of contributory negligence. Contact a personal injury attorney before speaking to any insurance company representatives, who might use what you say against you.
The attorneys at Myers Law Firm have experience handling pedestrian personal injury cases and can manage the details of your claim and legal case so you can focus on your recovery. To schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys today, call 888-376-2889 or complete this brief contact form. We look forward to hearing from you and finding out how we can help.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.