People often forget that the phrase “motor vehicle accidents” could also include collisions involving bicycles or pedestrians. Whether crossing the street, jogging alongside it or walking through a parking structure, pedestrians can suffer devastating injuries in even a low-speed collision. Unfortunately, inexperienced or inattentive drivers can cause severe crashes.
Here are four common causes of pedestrian accidents:
- Distracted driving: Drivers might be looking at a phone screen, their next bite of food or passengers in the vehicle rather than their surroundings.
- Impaired driving: Whether impaired by drugs, alcohol or prescription medication, drivers can experience dulled perceptions or slowed reaction times.
- Drowsy driving: Early morning drivers heading to class or late-night drivers on the way home from work might get behind the wheel while tired.
- Poor visibility: Whether it is due to bad weather conditions or a poorly designed intersection, drivers must be aware of factors that hinder their ability to clearly see pedestrians.
While inattentive or negligent driving leads to countless collisions and close calls each year, pedestrians can also follow tips that might reduce the danger they face, including:
- Avoid distracted walking: Pedestrians face the temptation of distracted walking with nearly every trip. From reading a GPS map on their electronic device to holding a conversation either in person or over the phone, these activities can lead to distractions. A pedestrian might miss posted safety signs, trip over debris and fall into a traffic lane, or fail to recognize dangerous traffic patterns.
- Always cross at crosswalks: It is not uncommon for pedestrians to cross a street mid-block where they are not protected by safety signals. From a painted crosswalk and lit warning signs to stop signs and traffic signals, pedestrians have a better chance to avoid injury by crossing where there are clear indicators.
- Make eye contact at intersections: In addition to crossing at indicated locations, pedestrians can also make eye contact with drivers waiting at the same intersection. This can ensure the driver sees the walker and recognizes his or her intentions.
In any type of motor vehicle collision, pedestrians will suffer the worst injuries. From the initial impact to falling to the pavement to being run over by the vehicle, pedestrians can suffer lifelong damage. Injuries can include broken bones, lacerations, head trauma, spinal cord damage, paralysis and amputation. Severe collisions might lead to a pedestrian fatality.