What are the Main Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?
Pedestrian accidents are a major concern. When a vehicle weighing thousands of pounds collides with an unprotected pedestrian, the results can be truly devastating. Victims may suffer catastrophic injuries, mounting medical bills, prolonged pain, and, in the worst cases, fatalities. The resulting financial challenges can also be immense.
For many people, just taking a few extra seconds to be cautious and be aware of what’s happening around them can make the difference between staying safe and getting seriously injured. While we can’t control all factors leading to pedestrian accidents, there are precautions we can take to minimize risks.
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Why Do Pedestrian Accidents Happen?
Distracted driving is one of the common causes of pedestrian accidents. The increasing dependence on mobile phones and in-car technologies significantly takes a driver’s attention away from the road.
Even a simple act like reading a text or answering a call can dangerously distract a driver, diverting their focus for a few crucial seconds. Considering the high speeds on highways, it’s essential to realize that in that short period, a car can cover the length of a football field, leaving a wide window for potential accidents.
Technology has made driving more comfortable and safer in many ways: features like lane departure warnings, automatic braking systems, and pedestrian detection have saved countless lives. However, the over-reliance on these systems and other distractions has contributed to a spike in motor vehicle accidents. Drivers might develop a false sense of security or become complacent, thinking technology will compensate for their lapses.
Speeding is also another primary cause of accidents that involve pedestrians. While drivers might think it saves time, the consequences of speeding can be severe, especially for pedestrians who don’t have the same protection as those inside vehicles if there’s an accident.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the risk of a pedestrian fatality is four times greater when hit by a vehicle traveling at 40 mph than when hit by a vehicle traveling at 20 mph.
Speeding doesn’t just increase the risk of traffic accidents. It also reduces the driver’s reaction time, making responding to unexpected obstacles or events harder, like a pedestrian suddenly crossing the road.
Failing To Yield
Another common cause of pedestrian accidents is drivers failing to yield, especially at crosswalks. When drivers neglect these basic rules, it jeopardizes the safety of pedestrians.
Texas traffic laws mandate drivers to yield the right of way to pedestrians at marked and unmarked crosswalks. If a pedestrian has already started crossing the road, vehicles must stop and wait until the person safely reaches the other side. Failure to yield can result in serious accidents, and drivers who violate this law may face legal consequences.
Ignoring Traffic Signals
Traffic signals and stop signs are crucial elements of road safety, acting as reliable guides for drivers and pedestrians alike. They play a vital role in maintaining order and ensuring a smooth traffic flow, contributing to a safer and more efficient transportation system. Ignoring traffic signals can, and often does, lead to disastrous consequences.
Running a red light is undeniably one of the most dangerous behaviors a driver can engage in. Not only does it put other vehicles at risk, but it also poses a significant threat to pedestrians who rely on the safety of the traffic signal while crossing the street.
Failing To Signal
In Texas, numerous pedestrian accidents occur annually due to vehicles neglecting to signal while making turns. Left turns, in particular, pose a greater risk to pedestrians, as drivers prioritize oncoming traffic over the safety of those crossing the street.
Blinkers serve as a communication tool between drivers and other road users, including pedestrians. By signaling their intention to turn or change lanes, drivers can alert those around them, allowing for safer navigation of intersections and roads.
For pedestrians, especially in busy areas, the turn signal indicates when it’s safe to begin crossing a street. Pedestrians may misjudge a driver’s intent without this signal, leading to potential accidents.
Traffic And Weather Conditions
While most pedestrian accidents occur due to driver negligence, sometimes poor road conditions can be a contributing factor.
Weather conditions like rain, fog, and snow can severely impact road safety by reducing visibility and making surfaces slippery. Wet roads, dense fog, or icy patches can hinder a driver’s ability to see pedestrians or stop quickly, increasing the risk of accidents.
Similarly, heavy traffic and nighttime driving can obscure a driver’s vision, making it harder to spot pedestrians walking. Regardless of these challenges, drivers must adapt. This includes reducing speed in poor conditions, ensuring their vehicles are well-maintained, and sometimes choosing not to drive in unsafe conditions.
Driving Under The Influence
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs remains a leading cause of pedestrian accidents. Research indicates a troubling correlation between substance impairment and pedestrian fatalities, with many fatal pedestrian accidents involving an intoxicated driver.
Alcohol and drugs impair judgment, reaction time, and coordination, significantly increasing the risks on the road.
In Texas, drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% can be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI). If a person is arrested for a DWI involving an accident with a pedestrian, the consequences can be severe, including fines, license suspension, and even jail time. Pedestrian accidents that involve intoxicated drivers typically also result in additional compensation for the victim.
What Can Pedestrians Do to Avoid Accidents?
While pedestrians have the right of way in many situations, it’s always safer to assume that drivers might not see you. Taking proactive steps and adopting safe walking habits can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and serious injuries.
Awareness Is Key
Pedestrians should always stay aware of their surroundings. That means avoiding distractions like texting or blasting music through headphones when crossing streets.
Staying alert can provide crucial seconds to react if a vehicle is approaching too quickly or not stopping as it should.
Cross At Designated Points
Always use crosswalks or intersections when crossing the street. Jaywalking or crossing at undesignated points can be unexpected for drivers and increases the risk of pedestrian accidents.
Make Eye Contact
When crossing the street, it is essential to establish eye contact with drivers. This simple action ensures that they acknowledge your presence and can respond appropriately.
When it’s dark or visibility is poor, wearing reflective or light-colored clothing is essential. Additionally, carrying a flashlight or using the light on your phone can make a significant impact. These measures will enhance your visibility and contribute to your safety.
Be Mindful Of Blind Spots
When it comes to large vehicles such as trucks and buses, it’s important to be aware of their larger blind spots. Always make sure you are visible before crossing in front of these vehicles.
What To Do If You're Injured in a Pedestrian Accident
Being injured in a pedestrian accident can be shocking and traumatic. However, taking the right steps after the accident will ensure your safety and protect your rights.
- Stay At The Scene: Unless your injuries require immediate medical attention, it’s crucial to remain at the accident scene until it’s appropriate to leave.
- Seek Medical Attention: Always prioritize your health. Even if injuries appear minor, it’s essential to get a professional evaluation to rule out internal issues or unnoticed trauma.
- Report The Accident: Alert the police. Their report can be a valuable asset for insurance claims and potential legal proceedings.
- Gather Evidence: Document the scene by taking photographs of the surroundings, injuries, and any vehicle damages. Also, collect contact details of any witnesses and the involved driver.
- Consult With A Dallas Pedestrian Accident Lawyer: One of your main priorities following a pedestrian accident is to contact a pedestrian accident attorney at Allbee Law Firm. We can provide valuable advice on the potential merits of your pedestrian accident claim, assist in gathering additional evidence, handle communications with insurance companies, and represent your interests in court if the situation demands.
The Alarming Numbers Continue to Grow
Pedestrian accidents in the United States have long been a concern, with Texas roads ranking high among states with high accident rates.
- In 2022, there were 5,764 pedestrian accidents in Texas, resulting in 1,526 critical injuries and 829 fatalities.
- Pedestrian accidents are particularly devastating, with 90% of victims requiring hospitalization, intensive care, or prolonged rehabilitation.
- Common injuries from pedestrian accidents include Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs), fractures, cuts, internal injuries, and spinal cord injuries.
- Children aged 6 to 11 and seniors over 65 are especially vulnerable to pedestrian accidents.
- The financial impact of pedestrian accidents is significant, with medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages accumulating. The average cost of a pedestrian accident is over $75,000.
Injured in a Pedestrian Accident? Call Allbee Law Firm to Discuss Your Case with a Trusted Personal Injury Lawyer
Allbee Law Firm has built a solid track record handling pedestrian accident cases and representing numerous victims in Texas. Our legal team, driven by commitment and expertise, ensures each client gets the support they deserve.
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, you may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. Reach out to us as soon as possible to start the process of building a strong pedestrian accident case.
With Allbee Law Firm, you can confidently pursue the justice and compensation you deserve. Call us today at (972) 848-4848 for a free consultation, and let’s get you the support you need!
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