Pedestrian visibility and safe walking at night

Visibility of the road from the driver’s seat is greatly reduced at night, at dusk or dawn, fog and other heavy weather conditions. The drivers visibility is reduced below 150 meters because of bad weather conditions and darkness, which is less than the area lightened by the vehicle headlights (low beams).

The standard low headlights of the vehicle illuminate the road, in front of the car, no more than 150 meters. This distance is not always enough the pedestrian or bicyclist to be spotted in time by the driver of the car and to avoid hazards.

Many pedestrians (and cyclists) underestimate the importance of their visibility on the road. Even on lighted section of the road/street, always there are dark areas between the lamps and under the trees.

The human eye has the capacity to clearly see bright objects on a dark background. This means that if it is dark outside and the pedestrian wear dark clothes, the driver of a moving vehicle notice him/her much more later than if the pedestrian wear reflective elements on clothes or wear some bright clothes.

Here’s how the driver’s visibility zone is changing because of the darkness and heavy weather conditions:
– Visibility, on the road, of pedestrians without any reflective element on the clothes

– Visibility, on the road, of pedestrians with a reflective element on the clothes:

Often pedestrians and cyclists forget that they are not so visible to motorists and drivers as they expected. Most of them believe that if they can see the headlights of vehicles clear from afar, the driver of the oncoming vehicle ca see them at the same time. The true is that the driver notice the pedestrian on the road only when the vehicle is at 20-150 m to pedestrian (depends of the daytime and weather conditions).

Because of that it is extremely important for the pedestrians and cyclists safety to be more visible on the road. Most easiest way to improve their visibility is to put any reflective element on the clothes or shoes. Many EU countries have already implemented the practice all pedestrians, walking at the night, to keep small flashlights toll or other light items to keep in a hand, which make them much more visible to the vehicle drivers. So the driver will be able to notice at a distance more than 150 meters before to reach them.

Here’s how a car driver sees pedestrian in the dark part of the day:

In case of headlights of oncoming occur glare of the vehicle driver moving behind the pedestrian, his/her visibility is greatly reduced.

That’s how the headlights glared driver see the pedestrian:









Because of their safety, in case of cycling at night or poor visibility conditions, bicyclists are required to place a device emitting white or yellow light in front of the bicycle. And to place a red reflective element or an additional device for emitting red light at the rear of the bicycle. It is mandatory to have reflective elements on the wheels. To keep a safety distance between the bicycle and the vehicles it is good to place and remote reflector also.


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