What factors impact your nighttime driving visibility?

Whether we're talking about motorcyclists, pedestrians or even other cars without their headlights turned on, it's quite common for crash scene investigators to hear that a motorist didn't see something before they collided with it.

One study conducted by the Department of Motor Vehicles in Indiana showed that visibility is often a factor in crashes. 87 percent of motorists who collided with a pedestrian while it was dark outside admitted to having difficulty seeing the person they struck beforehand. The amount of pedestrians that weren't visible to the driver during the daytime dropped to just under 12 percent.

To fully understand, we must look closer at how the eye functions. As we near the twilight period of the day, our ability to see diminishes to a state not all that different from colorblindness. The cells that detect color simply don't work well in low light levels.

Although it would seem that between headlights shining on reflectors and streetlights, visibility would be improved at night, it's not. Our ability to see colors diminishes and our ability to see the finer details of things also declines.

The age of the driver, the color of a pedestrian's clothing and the distance from the vehicle also greatly impact a motorist's visibility of someone else.

For motorists ages 18 through 30, they tend to be able to see as far as 96 meters on the right side if a pedestrian as opposed to only 81 meters on the left under the same circumstances. If that same individual is dressed in dark colors, then the driver will only be able to see someone within 56 meters on the right and 32 on the left.

When it comes to adults over the age of 65, they can see pedestrians dressed in white for up to 60 meters on the right and 35 on the left. When dressed in dark clothes, an older motorist can only apparently see a darkly clothed pedestrian within 24 meters on the right and 20 on the left.

If you've been struck by a vehicle because the driver didn't see you, then a Vista, California car accidents attorney may advise you of your right to file an injury lawsuit in your case.

Source: Mea Forensic, "Pedestrian visibility in night-time impacts," Kurt Ising, accessed Feb. 23, 2018

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