Depending on where you live, walking may be a means of exercise, relaxation, or transportation. As a pedestrian, you can save money on gas, help the environment, and improve your own health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, negligent drivers can cause accidents that seriously injure or even kill those on foot. No matter how often you walk to get where you’re going, it’s crucial to know where pedestrian accidents occur most often.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 129,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency room departments for non-fatal accident-related injuries in 2015. The following year, 5,987 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes. Nearly 20 percent of the fatally injured were over the age of 65. Additionally, one in five children under the age of 15 who were killed in traffic accidents were pedestrians. Understanding where pedestrian accidents tend to occur can help you avoid a dangerous or potentially deadly situation.
Pedestrian Accidents in Urban Areas
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the majority of pedestrian accidents occur in urban areas – at 73%. In the city, a significant number of accidents occur in intersections. This is often attributed to heavy traffic in small spaces. When a driver becomes frustrated, they could race through a light after it’s already turned red traffic light and strike a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Pedestrians are also at risk in crosswalks when driver’s make reckless turns.
In order to avoid a pedestrian crash in an urban area, there are precautions you can take. As a pedestrian, you should always obey the traffic laws and signals. Wait for the traffic signs to tell you that you can walk. If there is no traffic sign, it’s best to wait until you can see the traffic has stopped. As you cross the street, look around at the vehicles near you. Making eye contact with drivers will ensure they are aware of your presence, in case they weren’t paying attention.
Pedestrian Accidents in Rural Areas
Even though only 27% of pedestrian accidents occur in rural areas, it’s still important to be aware of the dangers, so you can avoid a potentially dangerous situation. In rural areas, there are typically fewer crosswalks and crossing signs to inform pedestrians of where and when it’s safe to cross a road. As such, it’s crucial to be aware of the traffic around you and how fast they are traveling. It’s less likely you’ll have to deal with heavy traffic in the country, so you can wait for a lull in order to cross the road safely.
If you’re in an area where there are no sidewalks, you should walk facing the oncoming traffic. This will increase your visibility. Negligent drivers in rural areas are also more likely to speed. Without traffic to slow them down, they may drive considerably faster than the posted speed limit. It’s important to be aware of this when you’re crossing a road, walking in an area where there are no sidewalks, or walking around a curve.
Where Else Do Pedestrian Accidents Happen?
Whether you’re walking in an urban or rural area, there are other locations where pedestrian accidents often occur. Drivers and pedestrians need to be aware of these spots, so they can proceed with caution and prevent accidents. These locations include:
- Parking lanes/zones
- College campuses
- Bicycle lanes
- Medians/crossing islands
- Bus/train stations
- Driveway accesses
- Shared-use paths/trails
- Non-trafficway areas
The Dangers of Being a Pedestrian at Night
No matter where you’re walking, being a pedestrian at night has increased risks. Streets without proper lighting, the absence of sidewalks, and dark clothing can make you an accident target. It’s estimated that 72% of fatal pedestrian accidents happen between 12:00-2:59 a.m. If you’re walking at night, it’s best to assume drivers do not see you. Increasing your visibility is the best way to avoid an accident.
You can increase your visibility by wearing bright clothing and a reflector, walking in well-lit areas, carrying a flashlight or other light sources, staying on sidewalks when you can, avoiding isolated areas, and proceeding with cautions while in crosswalks.
The law office of Todd W. Burris recognizes how devastating a pedestrian accident can be. If you’ve been injured by a negligent driver, our personal injury lawyers will work to build a strong case on your behalf that proves the accident never should have happened. We’ll strive to get you the compensation you need to get your life back in order. To learn more, contact our office today.