Safety First: Five Most Common Causes of Auto Pedestrian Accidents

Every day, thousands of pedestrians are involved in accidents with an automobile. There are areas that tend to be higher risk than others, such as large cities, and other factors that can impact a pedestrian’s safety, like walking at night. In any condition, there are some common factors that are connected in a way that city size and time of day have less of an impact. Below are some of the common cause of pedestrian accidents.

Common causes pedestrian accident injuries

Five Most Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

  1. Improper Lane Use- Many roads do not have a sidewalk, particularly outside of cities, so pedestrians have no choice but to walk in the street. Their safety is at the mercy of drivers using the roads as they are meant to be used. A variety of moving violations, including but not limited to, driving the wrong way down a lane, driving on the shoulder/sidewalk, or even a bicyclist using a sidewalk forcing a pedestrian into the road, can all result in pedestrians being caught in an accident before they are aware of what happened.
  2. Unmarked Crosswalks- Intersections are a magnet for auto accidents, and this spills over to include pedestrians. Drivers are far more likely to notice pedestrians when lines on the road indicate where people may be walking. This is especially so in parking lots as drivers are less focused on pedestrians when trying to find, enter, or leave a parking spot.
  3. Left-Hand Turns-Vehicles are three times more likely to hit a pedestrian while turning left versus turning right. This is because of a combination of pedestrians facing forward while the drivers are watching traffic from all directions, making the pedestrians just one of many things rather than the main thing a driver notices.
  4. Electronic Use-People are more distracted by mobile devices than ever, pedestrians and drivers alike. 
  5. Quiet Cars. Electric and hybrid cars are 40% more likely to hit a pedestrian than gas cars. The primary reason for this is that pedestrians are more likely to detect a vehicle with hearing than peripheral vision. A quiet car is not as noticeable from behind, or the side, so being out of sight can keep it out of mind.

Knowing that this is only the top five of many means that pedestrians may not feel like safety is a priority for drivers. Fortunately, there are ways that you as the pedestrian can avoid being in an accident.


How to Prevent Road Accidents as a Pedestrian

  • Follow the rules of the road so that drivers can anticipate your path.
  • Use sidewalks and designated pedestrian paths whenever they are an option. If not, walk facing oncoming traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
  • Stay alert. It can be tempting to escape into electronics, but the pedestrian use of devices contributes to Number 4, above. Distracted pedestrians have walked into oncoming traffic, crossed at red lights, and even hit parked cars. Pay attention to the vehicles around you.
  • Cross at crosswalks or intersections whenever possible, and always be aware of each possible path that vehicles may use. If a crosswalk or intersection is not readily available, locate a section that is lit enough to provide the best view of traffic. Wait until you can clearly see a break in traffic that will allow for a safe crossing. Even still, continue watching for oncoming traffic while you cross.
  • Assume a driver does not see you unless you have knowingly made eye contact with the driver. Even still, watch for body language suggesting that the driver may be deliberately acting as though you weren’t seen.
  • Be as visible as you reasonably can. Wear bright colors during the day and reflective clothing at night (or carry a flashlight), if possible. If not, accessories such as a backpack or umbrella that can catch the eye may be an acceptable swap.
  • Watch for vehicles pulling into driveways, alleys, or parking spots. Assume someone is always ready to enter or exit from the one nearest to you.
  • Avoid walking under the influence. Though walking, on its own, is safer to do than driving, if you are walking while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the impairment can lead to accidentally stumbling into traffic or misjudging a gap in traffic.


Safety First

While pedestrian right-of-way laws are intended to keep drivers aware of their responsibility towards those who do not have a metal shell protecting them, this does not dissuade everyone from unsafe practices. These laws are not a free pass for pedestrians to move about the roads however they please, nor are they a guarantee of safety. Pedestrians must be vigilant in their own self-preservation.

If you have been in a pedestrian-auto accident, it may be best to speak with an attorney before making any agreements. Our firm has several years of experience in these matters. To find out if we can help you, please contact us to schedule a free consultation, today!

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