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3 reasons colder weather inspires greater risks for pedestrians

On Behalf of | Oct 9, 2023 | Pedestrian Accidents |

According to nationwide crash statistics, pedestrians are at higher risk now than they were just a few years ago. Pedestrian crash rates have recently reached a 40-year high, and a substantial portion of the fatalities that occur in traffic every year involve pedestrians.

Those who walk, jog or run on public roads in Illinois have to worry about the possibility that a vehicle may strike them and cause major injuries. Obviously, such crashes can occur at any time of day and at any point throughout the year. However, as temperatures begin to drop, there is an increase in certain risk factors.

Less driver awareness

When the weather is warm, people expect to see pedestrians stepping out onto the road. Drivers are less likely to actively watch for pedestrians when temperatures are low and the weather is bad. Lack of driver awareness is one of the leading contributing factors to pedestrian crash risk overall. Pedestrians may need to be more cautious about their own safety when crossing or walking on roads during the cooler months.

Shorter days and longer nights

A review of collision statistics makes it clear that a large percentage of the worst pedestrian crashes occur during transitional times or while it is dark outside. With longer nights and shorter days, there will inevitably be more pedestrians on the road during darkness because the sun sets so early. A lack of visibility and a decrease in driver’s monitoring for pedestrians will both contribute to increased risk when the days are shorter.

Drivers who don’t always properly account for winter weather

Rainy weather in the fall or spring can be as dangerous as snowy and icy weather in the winter. Anytime that the pavement is wet, drivers typically need to maintain lower speeds and longer following distances between vehicles. Unfortunately, many motorists do not properly adjust their driving habits for the precipitation and inclement weather likely during the cooler seasons. Their failure to slow down might mean that they are unable to stop in time if they encounter a pedestrian on the street.

Pedestrians can help keep themselves safer on the streets by choosing lit paths and daytime hours for travel whenever possible. Prioritizing their visibility to drivers and avoiding the roads during times of particularly bad weather can also help pedestrians control their degree of crash risk. Ultimately, knowing what contributes to the possibility of a pedestrian collision can potentially help someone avoid a crash.