In recent years, an alarming trend has emerged on the roads in the USA (but weirdly, not anywhere else) including New York State where this New York car accident lawyer practices law: a huge uptick in car accidents involving pedestrians, especially at night. Why? And why only in the USA?
First, as the sun sets and darkness blankets the streets, the risks for pedestrians always amplify. One of the significant contributors to the increased accidents involving pedestrians at night is reduced visibility. As daylight fades, visibility diminishes, making it challenging for drivers to spot pedestrians, especially in poorly lit areas or where street lighting is inadequate. Additionally, factors such as glare from headlights, distractions within the vehicle, and impaired visibility due to adverse weather conditions further compound the risks.
But the factors above have always been a problem. Why are nighttime pedestrian accidents increasing now? Take a look today’s New York Times for a possible answer: In most parts of the world, drivers still have to shift gears as they drive, and thus are deprived of the easy opportunity to be simultaneously using their phones. Manual shift vehicles in the USA are quickly disappearing from our roads. US drivers are thus more readily able to engage in texting, emailing and checking their calendars as they drive compared to, for example, their European counterparts. This explains why this uptick is occurring only in the USA, where shift-vehicles are disappearing, and not elsewhere.
The good news is that both pedestrians and motorists can take proactive measures to prevent pedestrian accidents.
How can pedestrians protect themselves from driver distraction at night?
- Wear reflective or brightly colored clothing: Enhance visibility by wearing reflective materials or vibrant clothing, making it easier for drivers to spot pedestrians, especially in low-light conditions.
- Utilize designated crossings: Always use crosswalks and obey traffic signals. Avoid jaywalking, as this significantly reduces the chances of unexpected encounters with vehicles.
- Stay attentive and minimize distractions: Keep mobile phones or other distractions away while walking near or across roads. Stay alert and aware of your surroundings at all times.
Motorists can also avoid hitting pedestrians. They can:
- Reduce speed and stay vigilant: Decrease driving speed in areas with high pedestrian activity, especially during the night. Stay vigilant and watch for pedestrians, anticipating their presence on the road.
- Use headlights appropriately: Ensure headlights are in good working condition and use them appropriately in low-light settings to enhance visibility.
- Avoid distractions: Minimize distractions while driving, such as using mobile devices or engaging in activities that take attention away from the road.
- Yield to pedestrians: Always yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections, giving them the right of way to ensure their safety.
If you are unfortunate enough to be the victim of a vehicle-on-pedestrian collision, call a top-rated Syracuse New York motor vehicle accident law firm like us. We can explain to you your rights (for free!). You are going to need to know the difference between several different insurance “pockets”, including:
No-fault (also called “personal injury protection) insurance. In a vehicle-on-pedestrian collision, the insurance for the vehicle involved must provide this insurance to you, even if the accident was entirely your own fault. It consists of $50,000 to cover all medical expenses and lost income.
Additional Personal Injury Protection Insurance. Your own insurance policy for your vehicle may provide (if you purchased it) an additional $50,000 to add to the standard $50,000 no-fault coverage.
Bodily Injury insurance (also known as liability insurance). This part of the at-fault vehicle’s insurance pays to compensate your pain-and-suffering as well as any medical expenses and lost income not covered by no-fault insurance. The minimum policy in New York is $25,000 per person injured, and $50,000 per accident.
Uninsured Motorist insurance. If the vehicle that struck you has a low policy limit (for example, $25,000), and your own policy has more (for example, $100,000), then your own insurance will provide the additional coverage. In the example above, the at-fault vehicle would pay its $25,000 policy limit and then you could claim an additional $75,000 from your owner carrier to bring the total coverage to $100,000.
Underinsured Motorist insurance. If you are the victim of a hit-and-run or the vehicle that struck you was uninsured, your own carrier will provide you with the same coverage you have in your policy for bodily injury protection.
MVAIC (Motor Vehicle Accident Insurance Corporation) insurance. If you don’t own a vehicle, and no relative you live with does, either, and you are struck by a hit-and-run or uninsured vehicle, you can bring a claim for no-fault benefits ($50,000) and bodily injury ($25,000) through this agency.
Stay safe as you walk along the roads, but if you are hit, give us a call! We have successfully handled hundreds of Upstate New York pedestrian motor vehicle accident cases including multi-million-dollar ones.
Email me at: email@example.com I’d love to hear from you!
Michaels Bersani Kalabanka P.C.
Syracuse NY Car Accident Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.