In 2015, more than 5000 pedestrians were killed in car accidents throughout the United States. This averages out to one death from a pedestrian accident every 1.6 hours. This is just the start of the problem though. In addition to the numbers above, almost 129,000 pedestrians were treated in the emergency room for non-fatal car accidents in 2015. In fact, pedestrian accidents cause more deaths compared to passenger vehicle occupants, making it unsafe for many pedestrians to be near the road.
Understanding how to stay safe when you are on the road and when you are crossing the street as a pedestrian can make a big difference. Those who are the most at risk for these pedestrian accidents should learn the proper prevention tips to help them stay safe away from cars on the road.
Who is at risk for a pedestrian accident?
Anyone who is walking across the street can be at risk for a pedestrian accident with a vehicle. It is always important to pay attention to what is going on around you to ensure that you do not get harmed along the way. However, there are a few groups of people who are more likely to get hit in a car accident when crossing the road including:
- Older adults: Pedestrians who are at least 65 years old accounted for about 19 percent of pedestrian accident deaths and about 13 percent of the pedestrians who were injured in 2015.
- Children: According to data in 2015, about one in every five of the children who are younger than 15 years old were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians. This could be due to the fact that many children rush into the road after a toy, or don’t pay attention and look both ways when walking.
- Those who have had alcohol: This is true for both drivers and pedestrians. About 49 percent of crashes that resulted in the death of a pedestrian involved either a pedestrian or a driver who had consumed alcohol. About 34 percent of fatal pedestrian crashes involved a pedestrian that had a high blood alcohol concentration (about 0.08 grams per deciliter), and about 15 percent included the driver having this high of blood alcohol level.
- Additional factors: There are a number of other things that could cause car accidents with pedestrians. Some of these include being in an urban area with a lot of traffic, higher speed in the vehicle, pedestrians not being careful at night, or pedestrians walking across the street at a location that is not considered an intersection.
The best thing to do to avoid these pedestrian accidents is to make sure that you find ways to prevent them from happening. There will always be times when pedestrians and vehicles have to share the road. Learning how to make yourself more visible to the driver can make all the difference, as can better and safer driving. Some of the best ways for pedestrians to prevent death or injuries from a car accident include:
- Find ways to increase how visible you are at night. Many pedestrian accidents occur at night when it is harder for the driver of a vehicle to see someone walking across the road. An easy way to do this is to pick out some reflective clothing, such as a coat, to wear while walking and carry a flashlight.
- Whenever it is possible, make sure that you cross at intersections and crosswalks that are designated for pedestrians. Car drivers are not expecting you to cross in the middle of the road randomly, but they are expecting you at a crosswalk so make sure to cross there.
- When it is possible, make sure that you walk on a path or on the sidewalk. However, if there is not a path or a sidewalk available for you to walk on, walk on the shoulder of the road and so that you are facing traffic. This makes it easier to see you.
The primary goal is to make sure that you are as visible as possible, even in the dark, to the driver so that it is less likely that you will get hit by a vehicle.
Pedestrian and car accidents can end up causing a lot of injuries and even death. If you have been a victim of a car accident or a pedestrian accident in your area, it is essential to know your rights and how to behave in order to file a claim later on. Consider contacting a local attorney to help you get started.