Spring is here and summer is just around the corner. The weather is getting warmer, and there are a lot more people out walking. Pedestrian traffic has also increased sharply because of COVID-19 and the “stay-at-home” orders that were put in place as a result. This is especially true in local neighborhoods, where many families have made a regular practice of going out for walks in order to get exercise and fresh air.
Vehicle traffic has gone down during the coronavirus incident, but this does not necessarily mean the roads are safer. Lighter traffic can make it easier for cars to move faster and exceed the speed limit, which increases the likelihood of an accident.
Pedestrian crashes are some of the deadliest accidents that occur on the roadways. Someone who is struck by a vehicle when they are walking can sustain serious and catastrophic injuries.
Approximately 6,000 pedestrians are killed in traffic-related accidents each year, accounting for roughly 16% of all traffic fatalities. And younger children and the elderly are most vulnerable to severe or fatal injuries when they are hit by a car.
We must all do our part to reduce the number of pedestrian accidents. Here are some tips for both pedestrians and drivers:
- Be Visible: Do everything you can to make sure you are seen by motorists who are driving nearby. If you are walking at night, wear reflective or lightly colored clothing. If you are walking during the day, wear clothing that is brightly colored. Try to walk in areas where there is plenty of lighting, and whenever possible, try to make eye contact with vehicle drivers before crossing in front of them.
- Be Alert: Be continually aware of your surroundings and watch out for vehicles, especially when you are crossing the road. Limit your cell phone use and stay focused on where you are walking, and if you are listening to music, keep the volume at a level that allows you to hear vehicles and other sounds nearby.
- Be Predictable: Know and understand the traffic laws for the area you are walking and follow them. If there is a sidewalk available, walk there instead of on the side of the road. If there is no sidewalk and you must walk on the road, stay as far to the right as you can. Cross the road only at designated crosswalks and other places where it is legal to do so and avoid illegal crossings.
- Be Sober: Approximately half of all pedestrian crashes involve alcohol, and in about one-third of these cases, it is the pedestrian who is intoxicated. Alcohol does not mix well with walking or driving, so stay safe by staying sober before you walk.
- Get Plenty of Rest Before Driving: Driving while drowsy or fatigued is a dangerous practice that is more common than most people realize. Make sure to have plenty of rest before you drive your vehicle – for the average adult, this ideally means getting about seven hours of sleep the night before you drive.
- Drive Safely: Follow all of the traffic laws and do not drive in an aggressive or reckless manner.
- Stay Focused on The Road: Texting and other types of electronic messaging are prohibited while you are driving. Refrain from this type of activity, and if you must make a phone call, make sure your phone is in “hands-free” mode.
- Stay Sober: As we talked about earlier, alcohol plays a role in about half of all pedestrian accidents. In two-thirds of those cases, it is the driver who is intoxicated. Drinking and driving is a criminal offense, and it is not acceptable under any circumstances. If you have been drinking, call a cab or Uber, but do not get behind the wheel.
- Be Aware of Pedestrians: As we enter the warmest months of the year, drivers need to be continually on the lookout for pedestrians. Pay particular attention to your own neighborhoods especially as there are still many people staying at home while we are trying to come out of the coronavirus pandemic.
Injured in a Pedestrian Accident? Contact Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman for Assistance
If you or someone close to you was injured in a pedestrian accident, Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman is here to help. We are doing many of our consultations and other tasks remotely these days as we continue to follow social distancing guidelines, but our office remains fully operational and ready to serve your needs.
For a free consultation with a member of our legal team, message us 412-391-9860 or toll-free at 866-466-5789. We look forward to serving you!