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Why Roads Are Becoming More Dangerous for Pedestrians

Oct 11, 2023 | Car Accidents

Pedestrian Deaths Are on the Rise

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 7,000 pedestrians were killed on U.S. roads by automobiles in 2020. That equates to roughly one pedestrian death every 75 minutes. In addition, there were estimated to be 104,000 emergency room visits of pedestrians who needed treatment for non-fatal injuries related to car crashes in 2020.

Why Are Roads So Dangerous for Pedestrians?

There are many causes leading to the dangers that roadways pose to pedestrians.

Large Vehicles

Pedestrian accidents happen more often with larger vehicles, such as vans, trucks, and SUVs. Larger vehicles tend to have less visibility and bigger blind spots than smaller cars. A driver might have a have a more difficult time spotting a pedestrian.

There are more large vehicles on the road than ever — pickup trucks and SUVs lead the country’s top-selling vehicles. With their larger size, accidents between large vehicles and pedestrians are often more severe, causing critical injuries.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving takes many forms, including drinking, anxiety, distractions, speed, and more. Reckless drivers might miss a stop sign, not see a red light, or glance past a pedestrian already in the crosswalk, even if a flashing crosswalk light is present.

Reckless driving can be incredibly dangerous for pedestrians, even the most vigilant. And road safety experts say reckless driving behavior has increased thanks to the pandemic because drivers experienced less traffic congestion and traffic enforcement.

Improper Lane Use

Most pedestrian accidents occur on the road. Two-thirds of these accidents occur on city streets. One example would be a bicyclist using the sidewalk rather than the road, causing the pedestrian to jump out of the way into the road. As a pedestrian, you should always be aware of your surroundings.

Left Hand Turns

While crossing in a crosswalk is typically safer, cars turning left while a pedestrian is in the crosswalk results in an accident more often than right-hand turns. This often occurs because pedestrians and drivers pay attention in different directions, not noticing the other party.

Dark Clothing

Most pedestrian accidents occur at night. It can be challenging for drivers to see pedestrians in crosswalks or on the side of the road after the sun goes down. It’s especially true when streets are poorly lighted, or pedestrians are dressed in dark clothes. Pedestrians can try to protect themselves by wearing light-colored or reflective clothing when walking after dusk.

Electronic Use

The increase in use of electronic devices while driving has contributed to more pedestrian accidents. This, however, falls on pedestrians, too. Pedestrians are walking around while using their phones and not paying attention to the cars, bicycles, and other people around them. They may have earbuds in, causing them to have difficulty hearing cars or horns in their vicinity.

Quiet Cars

While newer, quiet cars may be fabulous for minimizing noise pollution in cities, it is terrible for protecting pedestrians. Combined with electronic use, large vehicles, and distracted driving, the lack of noise from quiet cars increases the severity of pedestrian accidents.

Legal Options for Injured Pedestrians

Sadly, most pedestrian accidents are often fatal due to the impact against a person’s body with no protection like helmets. These injuries are sometimes critical. If a driver is at fault for the injuries you sustain, you may be eligible for compensation to cover your economic and non-economic damages. These damages may include:

  • Lost income and wages, including bonuses
  • Lost business opportunities
  • Medical bills for hospital stays, doctors visits, physical therapy, and durable medical equipment
  • Prescription medications
  • In-home nursing care
  • Pain and suffering
  • Funeral expenses
  • Burial expenses
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Physical disfigurement and scarring
  • Depression and anxiety
  • PTSD

How to Protect Yourself

As a pedestrian, you must be vigilant and aware of your surroundings when walking and staying on sidewalks where available. If there isn’t a sidewalk, walk facing traffic. You should always use a marked crosswalk at the nearest intersection when crossing the road. When available, use the flashing crossing lights to alert oncoming traffic of your intent to cross.

When no marked crosswalks are available, you should cross only in a well-lit area and wait until there is a gap in traffic that allows you enough time to cross safely. It is never safe to assume a driver sees you trying to cross. Wear bright-colored clothing during the day and light or reflective clothing or accessories at night.

While drivers need to act and be aware of pedestrians, pedestrians also need to be aware and do their part to prevent accidents from occurring.

Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyers for Your Pedestrian Accident

If you or a loved one have been the victim of a pedestrian accident, you deserve compensation for your injuries. Our experienced and compassionate personal injury attorneys understand the difficult time you and your family are experiencing and want to fight for your rights and get you the financial compensation needed. Contact one of our lawyers at Belt, Bruner & Barnett P.C. or call (205) 933-1500 to discuss your case.