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Night myopia means drivers don’t see pedestrians

Drivers struggle to see pedestrians at night for many reasons. Reduced visibility is perhaps the biggest; with less light, pedestrians simply blend into the shadows and drivers have a hard time spotting them. For instance, a driver turning left at a light may not see a pedestrian in the opposite crosswalk and could turn directly into them.

An issue that many people overlook, though, is known as “night myopia.” To deal with the conditions, the eye attempts to focus on objects that are far closer to it. In many cases, these are too near to the driver, considering the speed of the car. At the same time, this close focus means that the eye blurs distant objects. It may still see them, but they tend to blur into the background and it’s harder for the driver to make out exactly what they are — especially when moving quickly and trying to process all of the other information that goes along with driving a car.

On top of this, you may also have issues with glare from oncoming headlights or even the very streetlights that should make pedestrians feel safe. This can really create a high-contrast situation where anything that is not directly in the light nearly disappears.

So, while pedestrians often feel like drivers are reckless and irresponsible, this shows that the drivers may simply not see them at all. Of course, that does not mean that the drivers are in the right. They have an obligation to look for pedestrians and yield the right of way, and those who get injured in accidents need to know how to seek compensation.