Pedestrian fatalities from accidents have been steadily increasing since 2009, which means the roads have become far more dangerous for those traveling on foot. In order to reverse the trend and get pedestrian accidents to start decreasing, caution and alertness are needed from everyone involved.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
To understand how to reduce your chances of being involved in a pedestrian accident, it’s important to know what causes these types of accidents in the first place. These accidents frequently result from the following contributing factors:
- Distractedness (like texting), whether on the part of the driver or the pedestrian.
- Left-hand turns from vehicles
- Lack of visibility, such as in adverse weather or at night
- Substance abuse
- Unmarked crosswalks, construction zones, etc.
While some factors are hard to avoid (drivers will inevitably need to make a left turn at some point), it’s worth being aware of them since awareness promotes caution.
Avoiding Pedestrian Accidents as a Driver
Drivers always need to exercise caution wherever they are, and they often have many things to pay attention to. It may be difficult, but the following methods can help drivers avoid hitting pedestrians while on the road.
Leave enough following distance
Make sure you have plenty of distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Leave more distance in rough weather conditions.
Slow down in pedestrian areas
If you’re in an area where pedestrians are frequent, slow down. Doing so can give you a bit of extra reaction time in the event that you need to stop suddenly.
The elderly and the blind may need extra time at crosswalks. Be patient, and don’t assume they notice you.
It goes without saying that you should always drive sober. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal, and it can expose you to a lawsuit.
Make eye contact
Never assume that a pedestrian has noticed you. Look for eye contact to make sure you both know who is going where.
Avoiding Accidents as a Pedestrian
The burden of avoiding accidents doesn’t rest with drivers alone. Pedestrians also need to do their part to keep themselves safe. The following tips can help.
Don’t assume drivers see you
When at a crosswalk, never assume drivers will see you. Wait until they stop or wave you on before you start crossing. Making eye contact can also help, especially if a driver is looking the other way at oncoming traffic.
Keep to designated crosswalks
Always cross at marked crosswalks. In Illinois, if there isn’t one in the area, you must yield the right of way to vehicle traffic.
Look past the first vehicle
If one vehicle stops, the one behind it might try to swerve around it. Make sure the line of traffic has properly stopped before crossing.
Mind both lanes of traffic
Naturally, when you cross, keep both lanes in mind. Just because one driver has stopped for you doesn’t mean traffic coming the other way will.
When Accidents Happen
In the event that you are hit by a vehicle in traffic, you might have a personal injury case if the driver was negligent in any way. A personal injury attorney can help you get the compensation you need.