Walking is the oldest and simplest form of transportationand it has countless benefits. Research shows that walking can improve your blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce your stress, protect against obesity, increase cardiac health—the list goes on.
But while the health effects are undeniable, walking on the roads can be a potentially dangerous option for pedestrians if they’re not alert and mindful of the cars around them. In fact, statistics show that a pedestrian was killed nearly every 1.5 hours in traffic crashes in the United States in 2016.
With this in mind, foot-travelers should pay attention to the common causes of pedestrian accidents below to make sure that they’re walking with wisdom on the streets.
Use of electronics. Use of cell phones and other devices—by both drivers and pedestrians—can potentially cause serious danger on the roads. Distracted walking can be just as detrimental as distracted driving. If you’re on your phone, you typically block out any other actions around you. Stay safe by putting your phone away until you reach your destination.
Alcohol consumption. Alcohol is another cause of accidents that can stem from either the driver or walker. Alcohol involvement was reported in 48 percent of all fatal pedestrian crashes in 2016. Pedestrians who have had a few too many drinks are more likely to jaywalk, cross at the wrong time, or misjudge a car’s distance from them. Instead of walking home while under the influence, order a taxi or Uber.
Nighttime darkness. It can be very difficult to see pedestrians in poorly lit areas—especially if they are wearing dark clothing. The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that about 75 percent of all national pedestrian fatalities in 2016 occurred after dark. If you’re walking at night, make sure to wear light or reflective clothing and consider carrying a flashlight.
Quiet cars. There has recently been an increase in electric cars on the roads. While these cars tend to be better for the environment, they also are much quieter since they are running off of batteries. Walkers are less likely to notice and hear these cars approaching them. Pedestrians should be sure to take a 360 degree look around them when crossing the street so that vehicles that might not be heard are still seen.
The pedestrian failed to use the crosswalk. Not only is jaywalking dangerous, but it’s also illegal in many cities. To avoid a potentially hefty fine and to keep yourself out of danger, only cross the street on crosswalks. Cars are on the lookout for walkers here, and they’re a lot less likely to be caught off guard from you.
Left-hand turns. The problem with left turns is that both the driver and walker aren’t paying attention to each other. The pedestrians are looking forward since they have the “walk sign” ahead of them, and the drivers’ eyes are almost entirely watching oncoming traffic for a break to turn. Pay attention to your surroundings—even when you have the right-of-way to cross the street.
Are you a pedestrian that has been involved in a car accident? The experienced personal injury lawyers at Thomas J. Henry are available 24/7 to hear your case. Contact them at 877-978-1740 or www.thomasjhenrylaw.com for a free consultation.