Driving at Night

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The other day, I was driving at night when I approached a red light and saw something move to the left of my car. When I looked closer, I realized that it was a man who was walking along the sidewalk. Because his clothing was so dark, I could barely see him, and if he had been crossing the street in front of my car, I would not have seen him until it was probably too late.

Pedestrians who are out at night pose a very real threat to those of us who are behind the wheel of our cars, driving. Often times, pedestrians don't think too much about the fact that the clothing that they are wearing might actually be putting them in danger. Therefore, if you are driving at night through a residential area, you have to be extra careful to look out for pedestrians because you never know when you are going to come up on someone who is exercising or just out walking their dog.

Over the last few years, due to the increase in suburban sprawl as well as the overall population increase and heightened number of people who have been moving to different parts of the country in search of jobs, there are now more pedestrians sharing the roadway with drivers than ever before. Additionally, because many of these same people work long hours during the day, the often don't get the opportunity to exercise until the end of the day or late at night after their kids are in bed. While driving at night doesn't have to be quite as dangerous as some people make it out to be, it is for these an other reasons that it is most certainly a dangerous thing to be doing.

Whether you are running up to the corner store to grab some milk or heading to your gym, being aware of your surroundings is a key element to being a safe, defensive driver. Despite the fact that pedestrians may not always have the right of way, we must still be cautious when operating a motor vehicle around them. For example, many cities require cyclists (no matter what the skill level) to ride their bicycles in the roadway versus on the sidewalk. At the same time, many runners take to the roadway versus the sidewalk so that they don't have to constantly sidestep people who are walking and/or jogging at a more leisurely pace. But what if that pedestrian were to suddenly trip or fall while riding or cycling in the street? What if you were the unfortunate car that was driving past them when they fell? Chances are that they would be struck by your car and possibly killed.

When you see pedestrians at night or during the day, give them their space and make sure that you slow down. You might just save someone's life. Remember, at night, there is reduced visibility, which greatly increases your chance of coming up on something or someone when you least expect it.

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