With a 21% increase in fatalities from pedestrian-vehicle accidents, 2020 saw the largest year-over-year increase in pedestrian accidents in the United States in history, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.
The GHSA believes that this spike in fatalities is due largely to an increase in dangerous driving like drunk driving, driving while drugged, and distracted driving occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with poor infrastructure with regards to non-vehicular travel like walking or biking.
In order to avoid such tragic accidents, both pedestrians and vehicle operators must be watchful while walking or driving in an area where pedestrians and vehicles will likely interact.
As pedestrian accident attorneys who have heard heartbreaking accounts of these tragedies, we want to offer a few tips on how to avoid a pedestrian-vehicle accident:
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If you are looking down at your phone while driving, you simply cannot see whether or not a person is crossing the street or a cyclist is changing lanes. Even if you are not fixed on your phone, but you are operating it while driving, you are much more likely to lose focus and collide with a pedestrian.
When driving, do not use your phone or engage in any other activity that will divert your eyes or attention from the road.
While the burden of responsibility is more heavily on vehicle operators, pedestrians have a part to play in preventing accidents by simply paying attention. If you are walking along the side of a trafficked road, crossing the street, or waiting to cross on the street corner, it is unwise to be looking down at your phone.
If a car hops the curb, is speeding through the crosswalk, or runs the redlight, you need to be aware and be ready to stop, jump out of the way, or do whatever it takes to avoid a tragic accident. If you are distracted you are far less capable of avoiding an accident.
When In Doubt, Wait It Out.
If you are driving through an area with regular foot traffic, a pedestrian looks as if he or she is about to cross, and you are not sure whether or not you or the pedestrian has the right-of-way, yield to the pedestrian.
Though it may cost you a few seconds in travel time, that short wait pales in comparison to the cost both to you and the person crossing of being involved in a pedestrian accident.
Though pedestrians always have the right of way when crossing the street at crosswalks, if a car in some way breaches your right of way while you are crossing, as the pedestrian you will very likely receive the greater physical harm.
If you observe a car that is not yielding or planning to yield at the marked crosswalk, do not cross. Wait until the car passes.
Always Observe Crosswalks
According to Alabama traffic law, pedestrians have the right of way over passing cars when the pedestrian is crossing at a marked crosswalk, regardless of whether or not traffic signals are present.
In order to avoid pedestrian accidents at crosswalks, be sure to check both sides of a crosswalk when driving past one and always stop when someone is crossing the crosswalk or on the curb waiting for a clear road to cross.
Other than marked crosswalks, motor vehicles almost always have the right of way on roads. So only cross at crosswalks.
When you do have the right of way while crossing at a crosswalk be sure to look both ways before crossing and practice caution the entire time you are walking.
If a car is speeding as it approaches the crosswalk you are about to cross, wait until it stops and allows you to cross.
Walton Law Firm–Auburn & Opelika Pedestrian Accident Attorneys
Sadly, given that fatalities from pedestrian accidents increased by 21% in 2020, both drivers and pedestrians often do not practice proper precaution when interacting with one another on the road resulting in devastating pedestrian accidents.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a pedestrian accident and are looking for a team of lawyers that will fight to get you justice, contact our team of Auburn & Opelika pedestrian accident attorneys at Walton Law Firm today.