In recent years, auto-pedestrian accidents have increased at an alarming rate. With the increase in pedestrian-car accident injuries come more pedestrian fatalities. From 2009 to 2018 pedestrian deaths increased by over 51% from 4,009 fatalities to 6,227 people. The Governors Highway Safety Association reported that the latter number is up by 250 from 2017, the highest total since 1990.
Pedestrian Safety: What You Can Do to Protect Yourself
The Time of Day Matters
Blame for so many auto-pedestrian accidents and fatalities range from the use of SUVs to the widespread use of smartphones. And yes, alcohol is a factor with impaired drivers and/or pedestrians the cause of approximately 50% of the deaths in 2017. But there are other factors. The time of day people are out walking is one. More people are struck at intersections and on local roads after dark than anywhere else. If you are out walking after the sun goes down, do not here dark clothing. Choose lights and whites to wear. Light clothing is easier to see—especially at dusk and poorly lit roads and intersections. If you are out for an extended walk along a road, a pocket flashlight may be a good idea.
Adhere to Marked Crosswalks, Sidewalks, and Pathways
In urban areas, intersections are a magnet for auto-pedestrian accidents, followed by parking lots. Cars turning left are three times as likely to hit someone crossing the street at intersections because both the driver and the pedestrian are looking elsewhere, i.e., drivers are looking left to right and back, and pedestrians are looking to the sidewalk ahead. Using signaled crosswalks greatly reduces accidents at intersections. In parking lots, drivers tend to look for an open spot to park and not at the flow of pedestrians walking through the lots. Clearly marked pedestrian pathways are important in and around parking lots.
Bigger Vehicles May Have a Harder Time Seeing Pedestrians
Though passenger cars continue to account for most pedestrian deaths, since 2013 pedestrians struck and killed by SUVs has increased by 50%. Even worse, an SUV is more than twice as likely as a car to kill a person that they strike. That relates in part to more SUVs on the road than sedans as of 2014, but also, the higher-front end of the car and inexperience driving a larger profile vehicle is seen as a cause.
Increased Population on the Roads, Increased Risk
The sheer number of people who are out walking these days is also seen as a contributing cause of pedestrian-car accident injuries and fatalities. The fact is, many people are walking not only for their health, but to save on gas money where and when they can. Waking or cycling to work is both healthy and cost-effective. The more people who take to the streets and roads increases the risk of auto-pedestrian accidents, along with the contributing demographic of a growing population means there are a greater number of people subject to auto-pedestrian accidents.
Texting and Driving/texting and Walking
Another leading cause of pedestrian accidents relates to smartphones. These days, smartphones tend to make people unaware and act or do dumb things. Much like distracted drivers fidgeting with their phones, an NYU study found that more and more people are victims of auto-pedestrian accidents while texting or talking on cell phones or listening to music on them simply walk into traffic. On the other hand, pedestrians need to be wary of drivers, too. A study by AAA added that the increase in drivers who talk on cell phones are four times more likely to get into an accident, and those drivers who text are eight times more likely to get into an accident.
To limit the chance of accidents, pedestrians should exercise a duty of ordinary care along roads or when crossing the street to avoid being struck by a vehicle. Both drivers and pedestrians are required to adhere to the rules of the road and exercise reasonable care. Besides, it’s common sense.
What to Do If You’ve Been Hit By A Car
In the event of an auto-pedestrian accident, there are necessary steps that each party should take to protect themselves, medically, financially, and legally. If you are stuck by a vehicle while walking or cycling, there’s a good chance you will need medical attention. However, if you are not seriously injured, stay calm and keep your wits, call the police, get the driver’s information, take pictures, and then seek medical attention. The extent of your injuries may not be immediately apparent. Do not turn down medical attention or take responsibility for the accident. An investigation will determine who is ultimately at fault.
Finally, seek a personal injury attorney to help with an insurance claim and determine liability. If you or a family member has been involved in a pedestrian-auto accident, no matter the outcome, contact Hardy, Wolf and Downing, Maine car accident lawyers who specialize in determining fault in these cases. Injured victims or their loved ones may be eligible to be awarded compensation.