According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 6,000 pedestrian fatalities occurred in traffic accidents in 2017. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over 130,000 pedestrians received emergency room treatment for their traffic accident injuries in 2017.
These high rates of pedestrian accidents illustrate the need for pedestrians to use caution and take preventative safety measures on the roadways. Some of the best ways for pedestrians to avoid accidents include increasing visibility, obeying traffic signals, crossing in crosswalks, and remaining alert.
How Pedestrians Can Avoid Accidents
Although pedestrian accident rates in the United States are high, many of these accidents are caused by either pedestrian or driver negligence. As such, they can be avoided. Below are five ways that you can avoid pedestrian accidents.
Increase Your Visibility
The NHTSA reports that one of the main causes of pedestrian accidents is lack of visibility. If a driver cannot see you, they are more likely to hit you. There are some ways that you can increase your visibility as a pedestrian, such as:
- Wear bright clothing
- Wear reflectors on your clothing
- Use a flashlight at night
If possible, try to avoid wearing dark clothing at night. Even with bright headlights, it can be almost impossible to see a pedestrian in dark clothing until it is too late. By increasing your visibility, you give drivers more time to slow down or react when they see you ahead.
Cross the Street at the Designated Crosswalk
Drivers are conditioned to seeing pedestrians cross the street at the crosswalk. If a driver is paying attention, they will often look for pedestrians while they approach a crosswalk. Furthermore, most crosswalks contain markings or signs to alert drivers.
If you attempt to cross the street anywhere other than the designated crosswalk, you may surprise a motorist. They may have little to no time to react. Consequently, they may hit you or get into a crash in an attempt to avoid you.
Try to Stay Off the Road
The more time you spend on the road, the more you risk getting hit by a driver. Therefore, you should maintain a safe distance between you and the street, if possible. If there is a sidewalk or path available, then walk on the sidewalk instead of on the road. Doing so reduces your chances of getting hit.
If no sidewalk or path is available, then walk as far onto the shoulder as possible. Make sure you are facing traffic instead of walking with the traffic. This allows you to see oncoming traffic and can give you some reaction time if it appears as though a driver will hit you.
Distracted walking can be a danger for pedestrians. If you are not paying attention, you may walk out into the road or get too close to an oncoming car. Therefore, avoid texting or using the phone while walking on the side of the road or crossing the road at the crosswalk.
Also, you may want to avoid using headphones or earbuds when walking close to traffic. Putting the phone down and removing the earbuds can allow you to better stay aware of what is going on around you.
Distraction is also prevalent among drivers. You may not want to assume that, just because you can see a motorist, they can see you. You may want to wait until they safely decelerate or stop at a crosswalk before taking your right of way and crossing.
Do Not Use Alcohol or Drugs
Drinking alcohol or using drugs can impair your judgment and motor skills. If you get drunk or high, you may accidentally walk out into the road. If a car is approaching, you may not have the ability to get out of the way.
Using drugs can also cause distractions, such as hallucinations. Individuals who are drunk are far more likely to engage in risky behavior. You may take chances crossing the street that you would not otherwise take if you were sober.
If You Were Injured in a Pedestrian Accident, Call Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident in Lafayette or Alexandria, contact Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers. We may be able to represent you in settlement negotiations or a personal injury lawsuit for your pedestrian accident injuries. You may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
For a free, no-obligation consultation on your case, call Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers today at (337) 777-7777. We offer representation on a contingency-fee basis with no advanced payments necessary for us to begin working for you.