Walking is good exercise and an environmentally friendly way to travel. However, it can be dangerous when drivers or pedestrians are careless on the roads. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), tens of thousands of pedestrians are injured each year in automobile collisions, and around 6,000 of those injuries will be fatal. The NHTSA estimates that a pedestrian is killed in an automobile collision every 88 minutes. Understanding the actions that lead to these collisions can help you avoid them. Here are six common causes of pedestrian accidents.
Improper Lane Use and Crosswalk issues
The majority of pedestrian accidents aren’t the result of a car running onto the sidewalk. It’s estimated that two-thirds of pedestrian accidents occur on city streets. Several issues end up with pedestrians vulnerable on the road. For example, a bike riding on the sidewalk can hit pedestrians or force them onto the road. Another issue is improperly marked crosswalks. When the crosswalk is easy to see, and signals are used, the risk to pedestrians is significantly reduced. Parking lots should also have clearly-marked pedestrian pathways, which can alert drivers to pedestrians instead of being focused on parking.
Left-hand turns are problematic for pedestrians. Data shows that three times as many people get hit by cars turning left than by vehicles turning right. The problem is that pedestrians and drivers are focused on other things when making left-hand turns. Drivers are looking up and down the street and may not notice a pedestrian about to enter the crosswalk. The same thing can happen to the person walking. They’re looking both ways and straight ahead. They may not notice a car that’s about to make a left-hand turn. Drivers and pedestrians need to pay extra attention at intersections.
Smartphones and other gadgets keep us entertained, no matter where we are. However, the distraction caused by these devices can be just as deadly for pedestrians as it is for drivers. A study by NYU Langone Medical Center on New York City pedestrian accidents found that eight percent of accidents occurred while the victim was using electronic devices such as a smartphone or music device.
It is said that every solution creates new problems, and that applies to eco-friendly cars near pedestrians. Due to their quiet nature, battery-operated automobiles and hybrids are 40 percent more likely to strike pedestrians than traditional gas-powered vehicles. Pedestrians detect oncoming traffic by sight and sound. The NHTSA also reported that the risk to pedestrians increases to 50 percent in residential areas. Pedestrians expect fewer cars in these areas, and there are more places for cars to stop and turn. Some countries are even mandating that electric cars be made louder to prevent pedestrian accidents.
It’s vital for pedestrians to wear clothing that makes them easy to see by drivers. People wearing dark clothing at night at far more likely to be involved in a pedestrian accident. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), almost half of all pedestrian accidents happen on the weekends, and 70 percent occur at night. If you plan on taking a walk after the sun has gone down, try to wear bright and light-colored clothes. This tactic is useful for areas where there is less lighting on the street, such as in rural and less-populated areas. If you have to wear dark clothing, bring a reflective vest or a pocket flashlight.
Intoxication and traveling do not mix well, whether you’re in a car or walking. As was mentioned earlier, there is a spike in pedestrian accidents during the evenings and on weekends, which is probably related to alcohol-fueled parties. According to the IIHS, alcohol is involved in around half of the pedestrian fatalities. More than a third (37 percent) of fatally injured pedestrians have blood alcohol concentrations of at least 0.08 percent. And drivers with the same BACs are involved in 13 percent of pedestrian collisions. Remember that drunk walking can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.
If you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident, all of these factors are things that need to be considered when determining a settlement with the insurance companies. The Law Firm of Steve Watrel, P.A. is experienced in helping victims in pedestrian accident cases. Send us a message online if you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation.