Fall Is the Deadliest Time for Pedestrian Accidents


No one needs to be told that the days are getting shorter and shorter. Indeed, until December 21st, the number of daylight hours will continue to shrink. At this time of the year, both motorists and pedestrians are advised to use extra caution to avoid pedestrian accidents.

New Jersey in particular is experiencing an alarming trend this year in that a dozen people were killed after being struck on our roads in September alone. That brings the total pedestrian deaths so far in 2018 to 115, which is only one fewer than the total for all of 2017. That year had been the worst for pedestrian fatalities in 24 years.

Fall Driving Conditions Are Dangerous for Pedestrians

In the fall, traffic volumes pick up following summer absences. Children are back to school and the light conditions change drastically. In fact, most of the 12 pedestrian deaths in September occurred during twilight hours or after dark, and most died in densely-populated areas.

Driving while under the influence of alcohol – and pedestrians who have been drinking – continue to be a problem. Drunk pedestrians and drunk bicyclists can cause accidents too with erratic and careless behavior. 

Drivers should slow down when pedestrians are likely to be present. Be on the lookout for people during low-light conditions such as evening, nighttime and early morning. Check that your headlights are working properly and are clear of dimming dust and dirt.

Those who walk during times of low light should:

  • Wear bright and/or reflective clothing like vests.

  • Avoid wearing headphones with high-volume music.

  • Put cellphones down when crossing the street to be alert to traffic.

  • Cross the street only at traffic signals or in crosswalks where available, and never step into a crosswalk if a car is approaching quickly.

  • Consider adding the free Pedsafe app on your cellphone. This app turns your mobile phone into a portable flashing light warning that is useful when walking in the dark.

Boonton “StreetSmart” Campaign Addresses Pedestrian Safety During Fall Month 

One local New Jersey town steps up its pedestrian safety efforts during the dangerous fall months.

Boonton’s “StreetSmart” campaign emphasizes the roles and responsibilities that both motorists and pedestrians have for safety on the road. The town displays safety information on street signs, banners, posters and tip cards as well as in local businesses.

Last year’s campaign, which included educational outreach for school children and seniors, led to a 39% reduction in pedestrians jaywalking or crossing the street in the middle of the block, as well as an 11% reduction in pedestrians crossing against the traffic.

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