Conscientious motorists know that they risk getting into a collision every time they get behind the wheel. The simple act of putting on a seat belt is a stark reminder that anything can happen en route.
No one dons a helmet or body armor before walking the dog or going for a jog, though, but the sad reality is pedestrians are at risk of sustaining devastating injuries in traffic crashes, too. Fortunately, if you know the most common causes of pedestrian car accidents, you can take measures to reduce the risk of ending up in one.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there was a fatal pedestrian accident every 1.6 hours in 2015. An additional 129,000 people on foot received treatment in emergency departments around the country for crash-related injuries that same year.
Pedestrians who are older than 65 or younger than 15 appear to have the highest risk of dying in a traffic accident. At the end of the day, though, anyone who walks near moving vehicles could end up in a catastrophic wreck.
Read on to learn about some of the most common causes of such collisions so you can take steps to avoid them the next time you’re on foot or behind the wheel:
Distracted drivers are not the only ones responsible for pedestrian accidents. According to The New York Times, researchers found that 8 percent of the pedestrians and cyclists who participated in their study were using an electronic device at the time of the incident.
2. Reduced Visibility
Researchers have determined that pedestrians are three to seven times more vulnerable to fatal accidents when walking at nighttime than they are during the day. In general, it is wise to avoid walking near traffic after the sun has set. If you must do so, wear bright clothing with reflective stripes, and carry a flashlight or put on a headlamp for optimum visibility.
Both drunk drivers and impaired pedestrians can be responsible for ensuing collisions between the two. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 35 percent of pedestrians who sustained fatal injuries in car accidents in 2015 had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher. When examining the BACs of victims who were involved in collisions between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., that figure jumped to 46 percent, or nearly half.
4. Aggressive Driving
Aggressive driving, which includes speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, and cutting off other motorists, is a leading cause of pedestrian crashes. Motorists who care more about making a statement or making up time than making it to their destination safely are more likely to violate local traffic laws. Sadly, all it takes is one angry motorist running one red light to take someone’s life.
5. Left Turns
According to the Federal Highway Administration, roughly one out of five pedestrian accidents that occur at a signalized intersection involve a turning vehicle. Approximately 60 percent of the time, the vehicle is turning left, whereas 40 percent of the time, it is turning right.
Left-turning collisions between cars and people on foot are common because motorists typically focus on oncoming vehicles prior to making the maneuver. Pedestrians, on the other hand, are likely to step out onto the street without accounting for cars that might be turning into the crosswalk.
Pedestrian accidents are often devastating for the people on foot. They are likely to sustain severe injuries since they have no protection from the impact. Thus, it is essential for both pedestrians and motorists to do everything in their power to avoid colliding.
Motorists should also make sure they purchase adequate bodily injury coverage from their auto insurance provider. In the event of a pedestrian collision, the medical expenses alone can easily amount to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.