More Americans live in cities now than ever before, and that means there is more traffic of all kinds on city streets. Whether you walk to work every day, or just use the crosswalk to get to your workplace, a restaurant or a store, busy intersections can be dangerous for everyone.
Pedestrians are much more vulnerable than drivers, so it’s important that both drivers and those walking to their destination understand street safety.
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What Causes Pedestrian Accidents?
According to the CDC, nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in a single recent year. Unfortunately, pedestrians are sometimes forced into the street by improper sidewalks, bicycles in pedestrian areas, or obstacles such as fallen tree branches.
Another significant factor in pedestrian-vehicle accidents is distraction. When either a driver or a pedestrian is using an electronic device while commuting, the risk of a collision increases. Alcohol use, by either the driver or pedestrian, can also contribute to injury-causing accidents.
Many pedestrian accidents are caused by careless drivers who fail to respect pedestrians’ right-of-way.
If you’re driving a vehicle and you crash into a pedestrian, the person on foot is far more likely to suffer severe injuries. You have your car to protect you, but they are exposed, with little to protect them from harm. The only way to protect pedestrians is to be aware of their presence, respect their right-of-way, and exercise caution at all times.
The following pedestrian safety tips for drivers can help keep everyone safe:
- When you’re driving, pay attention to your surroundings. This is especially important near crosswalks and in parking lots. Anticipate pedestrians and expect the unexpected.
- Don’t crowd the crosswalk. People need the entire space provided to safely cross the intersection.
- Allow extra time for older adults and those with slower mobility. They are at the most risk for serious injury.
- Be vigilant when you are in a school zone or behind a bus. Children could dart out unexpectedly and are often more difficult to see.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians
If you are walking on streets and roads, your safety as a pedestrian should be one of your top concerns. These street safety techniques can help you stay visible to drivers:
- Avoid walking on the road at night if you can. Most pedestrian accidents happen in the dark.
- Wear bright colors and consider reflective materials if you have to be out at night.
- Never cross a busy street outside of a crosswalk if one is available.
- Cross at corners instead of in the middle of a block.
- Always use the sidewalk when it’s available.
- If you are on a road without a sidewalk, walk on the shoulder towards traffic. If you go with the flow of traffic, you won’t be able to see oncoming traffic.
- Don’t look at your device or listen to headphones while you are walking. Keep your eyes and ears open.
How Can Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., Help After a Pedestrian Accident?
If you have been injured in a pedestrian-vehicle accident due to a driver’s negligence, the experienced attorneys at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., can help. We are prepared to investigate your case and fight for your right to fair compensation.
Our pedestrian accident lawyers know how traumatizing these accidents can be. We will treat you with compassion and give your case the urgent attention it deserves. Contact us now to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options and how we can help.
Harvey B. Morris is a lifelong Alabamian who has been practicing law in Huntsville since getting his law degree and passing the state bar in 1966.