Every year in the United States, nearly 6,000 pedestrians are killed in traffic accidents and about 130,000 are injured. That’s a pedestrian death every 88 minutes! Pedestrian fatalities account for 11% of all traffic fatalities, making them the second-leading cause of traffic deaths (after occupant fatalities). There are many factors that contribute to pedestrian accidents, but some causes are more common than others. Distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, and failing to yield to pedestrians are some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents. Below, we list the main causes of pedestrian accidents so you can be aware of the risks and take steps to avoid them.
1. Drunk Drivers
Unfortunately, many people still get behind the wheel after drinking. In 2016, drunk drivers were involved in almost a third of all pedestrian fatalities. This Las Vegas pedestrian accident lawyer explains that intersections, crosswalks, and parking lots are areas where people and motorists have to share space, so it is important to be extra cautious in these areas, especially at night.
If you’re out drinking, make sure to take a cab or have a designated driver. In addition, be especially cautious at night and in areas where there are bars or other establishments that serve alcohol.
2. Distracted Drivers
With the proliferation of cell phones, more and more drivers are driving while distracted. Distracted driving is any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the road, including talking or texting on a cell phone, eating, drinking, talking to passengers, fiddling with the car stereo, or using a navigation system. Distracted driving is especially dangerous around pedestrians because it increases the chances of not seeing them. If you’re a pedestrian, avoid walking in areas where there is a lot of traffic and if you’re a driver, put away your cell phone and focus on the road.
3. Impatient Drivers
Some drivers are in such a hurry that they don’t take the time to yield to pedestrians, even when they have the right of way. This can lead to pedestrian accidents, especially at crosswalks and intersections. If you’re in a hurry, don’t take chances by trying to squeeze through a crosswalk or intersection before pedestrians have had a chance to clear the area. A minute or two is not worth risking a pedestrian’s life.
4. Road Construction
Construction zones can be dangerous for pedestrians because there are often obstacles and hazards that pedestrians are not expecting. For instance, construction workers may be blocking a sidewalk or there may be equipment or debris in the roadway.
If you’re a pedestrian, avoid areas where there is construction and if you’re driving, slow down and be on the lookout for pedestrians. By being careful and aware, you can help prevent pedestrian accidents.
5. Bad Weather
Bad weather can also lead to pedestrian accidents. Rain, snow, and ice can make sidewalks and roadways slick and slippery. This makes it harder for pedestrians to keep their footing and makes it more difficult for drivers to see them. A slippery road may make it difficult to stop in time to let a pedestrian pass, while dangerous walking conditions may cause a pedestrian to slip into the path of an unsuspecting motorist.
Furthermore, rain can cause cars to lose grip on crosswalks, and ice can cause cars to jump the curb. So, if you’re a pedestrian, take extra care when walking in bad weather and if you’re driving, slow down and be extra cautious.
6. Wearing Dark Clothes at Night
As the day fades away into the night, the percentage of pedestrian accidents tends to rise. If you intend to walk after dark, wear white or other light-colored outfits. Also, bring a pocket flashlight that you can use to cross a street. Despite the fact that most intersections and crosswalks are lit by streetlamps, drivers still have difficulty distinguishing pedestrians who blend in with the background darkness. Simultaneously, drivers should be aware of pedestrians and anticipate pedestrians walking along streets at night.
Recklessness is defined as a disregard for the safety of others and can take many forms, such as speeding, running red lights or stop signs, or making illegal turns. Reckless driving often leads to pedestrian accidents. This is because it gives drivers less time to react to obstacles on the road, including pedestrians. If you’re a pedestrian, avoid areas where there is a lot of traffic and be especially cautious at crosswalks and intersections. If you’re a driver, avoid driving recklessly as it endangers not only your life but also the lives of others.
As you can see, there are many different factors that can contribute to pedestrian accidents. By being aware of the dangers and taking precautions, you can help prevent these accidents from happening.