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17 Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents occur every day across the United States. Unfortunately, when pedestrians are struck by a motor vehicle, the results can be devastating. In most cases, in a person vs. car or truck accident, it’s the person who loses. The injuries that occur can be severe and devastating. In many cases, they are fatal.
If you were the victim of a pedestrian accident, you have rights and can recover compensation. However, because the laws related to pedestrian accidents are complex, hiring an experienced attorney for assistance is a good idea.
It may also be helpful to learn the most common causes of pedestrian accidents. Keep reading to learn what these are.
1. Failure to Yield to the Right of Way
The “right of way” refers to the legal right a pedestrian or a motorist has to proceed in a specific situation or location. For example, suppose the traffic signal directs a pedestrian to begin walking across the crosswalk. In that case, a motorist is required, by law, to let the pedestrian cross before making their way through the crosswalk area.
Failing to yield the right of way occurs if motorist or pedestrian proceeds without giving precedence to the other party. An example of this is if a car doesn’t yield to someone crossing the street.
2. Left-Hand Turns
It’s estimated that approximately three times more people are hit by cars that turn left than those turning right. This is even true at intersections with crosswalks and signals.
One reason for this is that drivers who are making left-hand turns focus on the other vehicles on the road and if it is clear for them to proceed with the turn. In this situation, they often forget to look for pedestrians.
3. Distracted Drivers
If a driver is talking or texting on their cell phone, pedestrians and other drivers are at risk. However, if a pedestrian is focused on a digital device while crossing the street, they are also at risk of being involved in a collision. Distracted driving and distracted walking are both potential dangers for a pedestrian accident.
The bottom line is that neither pedestrians nor motorists should use devices while walking or driving.
4. Working, Playing, Lying, or Standing on a Road
It’s challenging for drivers to avoid hitting someone if they are lingering or standing in the road. Even if the vehicle swerves to miss the pedestrian, the driver who is behind the vehicle may not see them in enough time. The pedestrian playing, lying, or standing in the road could be held responsible for the accident if this happens.
Negligent drivers may wind up being deadly for roadside workers. It is usually required that those working on the side of the road wear gear that is easy to see and that signs are in place to let drivers know they are present. It’s also required that drivers use additional caution near the worksite.
5. Unmarked Crosswalks
While some intersections have designated, lined crosswalks, some don’t. If clearly marked crosswalks are not present, it may result in a driver forgetting to look for pedestrians, which increases the likelihood of a pedestrian accident.
6. Impaired Drivers
If a driver operates their vehicle while under the influence of drugs or drunk, they are dangerous to everyone else on the road. Pedestrians are especially at risk.
An impaired driver who drives through a crosswalk, against the traffic lights, or turning left into a group of pedestrians can cause pedestrian accidents. Any pedestrian walking at night needs to remain aware of their surroundings to ensure an impaired driver does not strike them.
7. Poor Visibility
If someone is driving or walking in a low visibility area, an accident is more likely to occur. Some of the reasons you may be dealing with poor visibility include:
- Low-quality headlights on a vehicle
- Poor weather conditions
- Bright lights make it difficult for pedestrians to see
- Pedestrians who wear dark clothing while walking at night
- Vehicles or objects on the side of the road
If poor visibility is a cause of an accident, some of the responsible parties may be the motorist, pedestrian, or even a third party, such as a road crew or the city. When dealing with poor visibility issues, drivers and pedestrians need to use caution. If you fail to do this, it can result in a serious and devastating pedestrian accident.
If a vehicle is traveling faster, the driver may not have sufficient time to react to a pedestrian on the road. Speeding will also increase the possibility of the pedestrian suffering a severe injury.
9. Impatient Drivers
In most areas, pedestrians have the right of way. If the pedestrian doesn’t see a vehicle and begins to walk across a crosswalk, the pedestrian is still considered to have the right of way.
If a driver is impatient, they may not lookout for the presence of pedestrians, or they may attempt to drive around pedestrians who are walking in the crosswalks. These issues can result in a serious pedestrian accident.
10. Darting or Running into the Road
Adolescents and children may dart into the road with no consideration for oncoming traffic. This results in accidents in virtually any area. If a pedestrian darts into the road, the driver may not have enough time to react and avoid hitting them. When this happens, the driver may strike a pedestrian causing serious injuries.
11. Rolling Stops
If a vehicle does not properly stop at a traffic signal or stop sign, the driver may not see pedestrians nearby.
Both pedestrians and drivers can be reckless. Reckless actions are thought of as one of the main causes of pedestrian accidents. If a driver fails to look for pedestrians or does not obey traffic laws at the crosswalks, they may pose a danger to pedestrians.
13. Inexperienced Drivers
Drivers who don’t have much experience are less likely to know where pedestrians are likely to be. They are also less likely to look for and respond to the presence of pedestrians properly.
14. Bad Weather
Slippery roads can make it challenging, if not impossible, for a vehicle to stop in enough time to allow a pedestrian to pass by. Also, hazardous walking conditions may cause a pedestrian to fall into the path of a motorist. Rainwater may also cause a car to hydroplane into a crosswalk, and ice may result in a vehicle jumping the curb.
15. Defective or Improperly Installed Traffic Lights
Because both drivers and pedestrians depend on traffic signals to function properly, a single defective pedestrian signal or traffic light may result in devastating outcomes.
16. Wearing Dark Clothes While Walking at Night
Nighttime pedestrian accidents are much more common than ones that occur during the day. If you plan to walk after dark, make sure you wear white or other light-colored clothing. Also, take a pocket flashlight with you on your walk to use when crossing a street.
While streetlamps and flashing lights light up most crosswalks and intersections, it’s still challenging for some drivers to see pedestrians if they blend in with the darkness. Drivers also need to be aware that pedestrians are probably going to be walking at night.
17. Multi-Lane or Arterial Roads
Arterial roads often present a danger to some pedestrians. Drivers must deal with others on the road speeding, tailgating, changing lands, and changing lanes unsafely. Because of this, they aren’t usually looking out for pedestrians or traffic signals.
Tips for Preventing Pedestrian Accidents
Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents are still a huge problem across the country. For pedestrians, there are some steps they can take to reduce the possibility of being struck.
Never Assume a Driver is Paying Attention
Pedestrians have the right of way in most traffic situations. While this is true, it does not mean that drivers are always watching out for pedestrians. Just like you need to practice defensive driving while on the roads, you also need to practice this as a pedestrian. Make sure the road is clear before you try to cross and only cross at the designated crosswalks when the light gives you the go-ahead to do so. Just because a vehicle is required, by law, to stop, it doesn’t mean it will.
Use the Designated Crosswalks
Most drivers will watch for pedestrians who cross at the crosswalk. If you want to avoid being involved in an accident, it’s best to cross at a crosswalk and wait until the light turns green for you to go.
Never Walk in the Street
If you walk in the street, you may block traffic and cause other issues. It isn’t worth discussing if it is legal to walk in the street – the fact is, doing this may result in you being struck by a car.
Instead, you should make sure to stay on the sidewalk or other walking areas near the streets. By doing this, you have a better chance of avoiding being in a situation where you walk in an area where drivers aren’t paying attention or watching out for you.
What Should You Do After a Pedestrian Accident?
While many people walk to get where they need to go, exercise, and fun, it presents a hazard. If you happen to be hit by a vehicle, you may wonder what to do next. After a pedestrian accident ocurrs, while this is probably going to be a confusing situation, there are some steps you should take.
Get Medical Attention
If you are hit by a car or truck, it is important to be checked out by medical personnel right away. You or someone nearby can call 911 to ensure emergency response services are on their way.
Document All Your Injuries
After you contact medical professionals, it’s time to take personal inventory. Some things to consider include:
- What parts of your body hurt?
- Are there visual injuries?
- Are your clothes torn?
- Are you bleeding?
Be sure to take note of all pain or injuries you have. Report them to the paramedics once they arrive on the scene.
Contact Law Enforcement
If you can, make a list of everything that happened right before the accident. As time passes, what happened may become foggy or unclear. Be sure to report everything you remember to the police to include it in the official report of the accident.
Avoid Discussing Fault
No matter what happened leading up to the accident, you should never discuss who is at fault at the scene. Unless you have prior experience in the law field, it is best not to discuss anything. Anything you happen to say to the insurance company can be used against you if you file a lawsuit for compensation.
Avoid talking about the accident on social media, too. Anything you post here can be used against you to blame you if you fail a lawsuit.
Contact Your Insurer
If you have car insurance, it is necessary to get in touch with them right away. Even if you were a pedestrian in the accident, most policies would cover these accidents. It’s necessary to do this to make sure you can make a disability or medical claim after the accident.
Contact an Attorney
When struck by a vehicle, it isn’t uncommon for pedestrians to have extensive injuries. The injuries may result in financial, emotional, and physical problems that will impact your life now and in the future. A pedestrian accident attorney can help you determine the value of your case and fight to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Make sure you find an attorney with prior experience handling pedestrian accident cases. This will ensure they have the knowledge and ability to represent you and help you recover damages for your injuries.
Protecting Your Rights After Injuries from a Pedestrian Accident
If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident, you have rights. Be sure to take the steps highlighted above to protect the right you have to recover compensation.
It’s also beneficial to know the most common reasons and ways pedestrian accidents occur, which have been detailed and explained above. Having this information is invaluable and will help you protect yourself if you are ever involved in an accident where you are the one who is injured.