Everyone is a pedestrian at some point, even if it is simply walking across a parking lot to enter the grocery store. Walking among traffic is risky under any circumstance, and an encounter with a motor vehicle, whether it is a motorcycle or a tractor-trailer, can result in life-changing injuries.
There are measures you can take to improve your chances of remaining safe when you are walking near traffic. However, your most cautious actions may be useless if the driver of a vehicle is negligent or reckless. Statistics show that Pennsylvania, like most other states, sees too many tragic accidents involving pedestrians.
Each day, doctors and nurses in emergency rooms across the country see an average of 430 patients who have been struck by vehicles. About a dozen pedestrians die each day in traffic accidents. This adds up to thousands of injuries and fatalities annually, most of which were likely preventable.
If you are a young male between ages 15 and 29, your chances of death or injury in a pedestrian accident are higher than any other age group. However, as you age, the potential increases that a pedestrian accident will result in fatal injuries. Twenty percent of fatal pedestrian versus motor vehicle accidents involve children under the age of 14. Because children are small, they are often below the sight line of a driver and may have an undeveloped sense of danger when around traffic.
What can you do?
Adults as well as children can take precautions when they must be on foot around traffic. While it is always advisable to remain on the sidewalk as far away from moving vehicles as possible, other safeguards can improve your chances of arriving safely at your destination, including these:
- Using crosswalks or crossing at intersections
- Carrying a flashlight at night
- Wearing bright colored or reflective clothing
- Remaining free from distractions, such as your electronic devices
- Refraining from wearing earbuds that may prevent you from hearing danger
- Avoiding walking if you have been drinking alcohol.
About one third of all pedestrians who suffer fatal injuries in traffic accidents have a blood alcohol concentration at or over the legal limit of .08 percent. However, many pedestrians are also the victims of drunk driving accidents or of drivers who were drowsy or distracted. If you are injured or a loved one dies in a pedestrian accident, you have every right to seek legal assistance.