No one wants to be walking down the street or sidewalk only to be hit by oncoming traffic. Nor does anyone set out to slip and fall on the pavement. However, according to the CDC, 5,977 pedestrians perished in motor vehicle accidents in 2017. Another 137,000 pedestrians went to the emergency room the same year for injuries sustained in accidents.
In fact, people walking on the streets and sidewalks have a 1.5 times more risk of being involved in an accident than drivers or passengers of vehicles. But what are the factors and scenarios that stand a greater chance of injury or an accident?
A pedestrian accident is more likely to happen in these scenarios:
- The driver or pedestrian is intoxicated. When drivers or pedestrians are under the influence of alcohol, it increases the chance an accident will occur. CDC data reveals that 47% of pedestrian accidents that ended in death involved intoxication.
- Age. Believe it or not, age does play a factor in the risk of a pedestrian accident. Children and seniors 65 and older are more likely to be involved.
- Vehicles that are being driven at higher speeds. Higher speeds not only increase the chance of a pedestrian being hit but also the severity of their injuries.
- High-density areas or urban cities.
- When visibility is low, including during the night or evening hours and when there are inclement weather conditions.
- Vehicles and pedestrians traveling in areas that do not contain intersections.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has some suggestions you can follow to reduce your risk of a pedestrian accident. When walking, the NHTSA recommends adhering to the following:
- Know the rules of the road and stick to following traffic signs and signals. In other words, try to remain on the sidewalks when available or within the lines that designate a bike lane or the side of the road. Don’t disobey traffic lights or jaywalk.
- Walk in the direction of traffic and as removed from traffic as you can. This applies when there aren’t any sidewalks available.
- Refrain from wearing noise-canceling devices or earbuds that could prevent you from hearing warning signs of an out-of-control vehicle.
- Use crosswalks and intersections whenever there is one. Double-check all directions of oncoming traffic before crossing.
- Try to make eye contact with drivers and ensure they see you.
- When crosswalks and intersections aren’t available, cross in areas with lots of light. Time your crossing with pauses or gaps in traffic. Always watch for oncoming traffic before and during the time you’re crossing.
- Increase your visibility with reflective and bright clothing, headlamps, and flashlights.
- Don’t walk after consuming alcohol or drugs.
- Be mindful of vehicles exiting and entering driveways and parking lots.
What You Can Do as a Driver
Preventing a pedestrian accident isn’t just the responsibility of those walking on sidewalks and streets. When you’re behind the wheel, here are some tips to keep in mind.
- Keep an eye out for people walking, no matter where you’re driving or what the conditions are.
- When there is low visibility or weather conditions are poor, be extra cautious and vigilant.
- Don’t drive over the speed limit, and always be prepared to slow down or stop, especially where there are crosswalks, school zones, and intersections.
- When pedestrians are crossing, be sure to stop and give them plenty of space.
- Do not go around other vehicles that are stopped at crosswalks.
- Avoid the use of intoxicating substances that could impair your reaction time and judgment.
- Look twice when backing out of your driveway, a store’s parking lot, or near sidewalks.
Additional Prevention Methods
There are many groups and committees around the nation dedicated to creating communities that are safe to walk in. Many of these groups advocate for the safety of everyday citizens, especially children and senior citizens.
You can also check the NHTSA’s checklist for what makes a community walkable.
You may be able to approach your city or HOA to make improvements or start educational sessions that teach residents about how to make areas safer for everyone.
Some of these resources are aimed specifically at keeping high-risk groups, such as children and senior citizens, safe.
When it comes down to it, preventing a pedestrian accident is about being more conscientious. Be cognizant of how your actions or inactions can impact others. Do the best you can to follow safety guidelines and be aware of risk factors so you can either avoid or help correct them.
What to Do If You’re Injured
If you’ve been injured as a pedestrian in an automobile accident or slip and fall incident, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost income and other losses through a personal injury claim. Drivers, property owners and businesses all owe a duty of care to pedestrians. When they fail in this duty through negligence and cause an injury accident, the person who suffered an injury can file a claim for damages.
Working with an attorney can make all the difference in the outcome of your personal injury claim for a pedestrian accident. Why risk being unfairly compensated and not having recourse to fix it? When you hire a pedestrian injury lawyer from Brandon J. Broderick, you are assured a passionate team fighting for your best interest and putting your needs first. We work on contingent fees that are only collected if we win your case. If we don’t win, you don’t pay.
Contact Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, for a free consultation. With our proven track record of success and our commitment to client care, we can turn your setback into a comeback.