When you head out on foot, your safety is probably one of the last things on your mind. After all, you’ve been crossing the street alone for quite a few years now. Nevertheless, it’s important to take a minute to reflect on the very real danger that pedestrians face. When you’re walking, absolutely nothing comes between you and the impact of an accident. As such, pedestrian accidents are some of the deadliest accidents on our roadways. Crosswalks—because they represent the point of intersection for pedestrians and vehicles—are where most pedestrian accidents take place, so always make safety your top priority when you cross.
When you make the healthy choice to walk to a destination, you not only increase your daily steps but also get to pat yourself on the back for going green. These are good things, but when you take to the streets on foot, you also make yourself more vulnerable to the traffic all around you. The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center shares that accidents involving pedestrians are increasing, and some sobering statistics back this up:
- From 2006 to 2016, traffic fatalities went down by nearly 18 percent overall, but fatalities related to pedestrian accidents rose by 12 percent.
- There were more pedestrian-accident fatalities in 2015 (more than 5,000) than there had been in any of the nearly 20 previous years.
- In the decade from 2006 to 2015, the number of annual injuries related to pedestrian/vehicle accidents increased by nearly 15 percent (from around 61,000 to about 70,000).
When you’re on foot, put safety first.
If a pedestrian accident injured you, you need an experienced personal injury attorney. At the Law Office of William W. Hurst in Indianapolis, we know how difficult this situation is for you, and we have the skill, experience, and compassion to help effectively and efficiently guide your claim toward its best possible outcome.
Safety Tips for Indianapolis Pedestrians
When you’re in a crosswalk, you’re vulnerable to the traffic all around you, but you can take steps to help ensure your safe passage to the other side:
- Safety in numbers – Groups of pedestrians are easier for drivers to see and, thus, to respond to safely. Whenever you can, cross with a group of people.
- Pedestrian signs and signals – Signs and signals for pedestrians are posted for one very important reason: to allow you to cross safely to the other side. Heed their advice and warnings.
- Stay visible – When you make your way through a crosswalk, the object is for drivers to see you and allow for your safe passage. If you must walk after dark, make sure that you wear an item of outerwear that incorporates reflective material. And always don comfortable, sturdy, well-fitting, supportive, and weather appropriate footwear so that your footing remains secure.
- Pay attention – You’ve heard it before: Stop, look, and listen before you cross the street. This remains true for children and adults alike. Everyone’s in a hurry, but when you’re heading into a crosswalk, always take the time to stop, look, and listen for oncoming traffic before you step forward (no matter what the pedestrian signal indicates).
- Have a plan – When you get behind the wheel, it’s second nature to set a travel plan. It’s just as important to plan your route when you’re heading out on foot. Give some thought to how you’re going to get from point A to point B; you may even minimize the number of crosswalks on your route—and thus maximize your safety.
Risky Driving Behaviors
Drivers are obviously the sticking point when it comes to safe crosswalks. When drivers engage in risky driving practices, they further jeopardize pedestrian safety. The range of risky driving practices include:
- Driving while distracted – While there have always been plenty of ways for drivers to distract themselves, the advent of the smartphone leaves ever more drivers increasingly distracted—and this leaves pedestrians at even greater risk of injury in crosswalk accidents.
- Driving while impaired – An impaired driver is a dangerous driver—whether alcohol, drugs, or exhaustion causes that impairment. Impaired drivers endanger everyone on the road.
- Driving while oblivious – An important element of safe driving is accommodating road conditions, including a road’s bad repair, the decreased visibility of nighttime driving, and the dangerous conditions created by inclement weather. All these variables necessitate decreased speeds and increased stopping distances, but plenty of seemingly oblivious drivers out there simply don’t bother to make the necessary adjustments to accommodate dangerous conditions.
The Immense Danger Posed by Distracted Drivers
The dangers associated with distracted driving are so pronounced, that it’s important to take a closer look. Distraction.gov is a website that the U.S. government has devoted to this important topic, and it characterizes distracted driving as any driving in which the driver isn’t completely focused on the critical task at hand: driving safely. Driver distractions are classified into three categories:
- Visual distractions that engage the driver’s vision
- Manual distractions that engage the driver’s hands
- Cognitive distractions that engage the driver’s thoughts
When it comes to distractions, smartphones blow the other distractions out of the water. When drivers are on their smartphones, their hands, eyes, and thoughts are all otherwise engaged. Such drivers are dangerous drivers, and pedestrians are especially vulnerable to this level of distracted driving.
Contact Our Office to Consult With an Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyer Today
When you’re on foot, you’re far more vulnerable to the traffic in crosswalks—it’s as simple as that. Furthermore, pedestrian accidents are some of the deadliest on our roads. If you or someone you care about was injured in a pedestrian accident, you need skilled legal counsel. The dedicated legal team at the Law Office of William W. Hurst in Indianapolis has the experience and commitment to help guide your pedestrian accident claim to just resolution. We’re here to help, so please contact or call us at (317) 636-0808 to schedule a free consultation today.