Auto accidents happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, the driver had very little control over the circumstances of the incident, while other times, the driver acts negligently and directly causes the accident. The same is true when the accident involves a pedestrian—there are a myriad causes of pedestrian accidents, all of which can cause extensive damage.
Whether you traverse the roadways as a driver, a pedestrian, or both, it is important to know common causes of pedestrian accidents. With some insight, you’ll know what to look for when you are driving or walking on roadways and public spaces. Though some situations are unavoidable, others are completely preventable—understanding and foresight can help you avoid allowing a major accident cause to happen to you.
Below, we’ve taken the time to list the main causes of pedestrian accidents.
When you get behind the wheel of your car, driving should be your first and only priority. Unfortunately, many people believe they can multitask while they drive. Distracted driving encompasses a variety of actions, including:
- Texting while driving.
- Talking on the phone while driving.
- Eating and drinking while driving.
- Turning around to speak to or care for a passenger in the back.
- Adjusting the heat, radio, or other car settings.
- Looking at scenery, buildings, or anything other than the road.
Essentially, if you do anything other than observe the road, traffic signs and signals, and other traffic, you are participating in distracted driving. Distracted driving is not only a common issue but is also a main cause of pedestrian accidents.
Drunk or Impaired Drivers
DUIs and drunk driving occur more often than many people realize. Though the legal limit for blood alcohol content is .08%, some people choose to drive when they are above this threshold. Driving while intoxicated makes it much easier to miss road signs and disobey road rules. It also makes it more difficult to see pedestrians in time to stop or avoid striking them. Driving while impaired leads to thousands of pedestrian accidents every year.
When a road or business is under construction, the work involved can cause traffic issues. While construction crews do their best to allow for regular traffic patterns, vehicles can be a tight fit, making it uncomfortable to drive and walk in the area. Many times, pedestrians must walk in unexpected or inconvenient areas inside of construction zones. This can easily catch drivers off guard, causing them to collide with pedestrians.
Bad weather can have a significant impact on drivers and pedestrians alike. Rain and snow can make it difficult for drivers to stop quickly. This same weather can be uncomfortable to walk in, causing pedestrians to hastily rush to their destination without properly assessing the area. Cars can also drive up onto the curb in slippery or wet conditions, and pedestrians may slip from the curb and into the street below.
Pedestrians can be difficult enough to see during the daytime, but reduced vision at night means spotting pedestrians becomes much more complicated. This is especially true if the pedestrian is wearing dark clothing. Dark clothing can cause a pedestrian to blend in with the night sky, and drivers often don’t see them within the confines of a sidewalk or crosswalk. Dark clothing can increase the risk of a car versus pedestrian accident even if weather and road conditions are normal.
Misinterpretation of Traffic Signals
Pedestrians often pay attention to the walk signals that tell them when it’s safe to cross. However, drivers are often much less attuned to these lights. Drivers turning left at a green light often believe they have the right of way when, in reality, they still must yield to pedestrians crossing on the left parallel side of the road. Drivers must wait and watch for pedestrians and oncoming traffic even after the light turns green.
Failure to Take a Reasonable Amount of Care
Pedestrians and drivers are required to exhibit a “reasonable amount of care” when they are walking or driving. This means that they must give a reasonable amount of attention to their surroundings as well as traffic signals, traffic patterns, and pedestrians and drivers around them. If a pedestrian or a driver fails to meet this standard, accidents can easily occur.
Busy or Large Roadways
When a roadway has many lanes or is full of traffic, it can be easy for a driver to forget to look for pedestrians. Though many extremely busy roads such as highways and freeways do not reserve space for pedestrian crossings, others may cater to pedestrian travel. Unfortunately, drivers often forget to look for pedestrians in these areas, and accidents occur.
Sometimes, drivers or pedestrians simply choose not yield to others. In fact, impatience often causes otherwise good drivers and pedestrians to execute risky or unsafe maneuvers in an attempt to save a few seconds. These maneuvers are almost never worth the ris, and can easily cause pedestrian accidents. It is important to exercise patience and understanding when driving and walking to avoid making risky mistakes.
Your Pedestrian Accident Attorneys
If you experience a pedestrian accident for any reason, it’s important that you contact a qualified attorney. Trying to navigate the legal system alone can be intimidating, and these cases are often complex. If you do not hire an attorney, you risk being held responsible for an accident that wasn’t your fault or missing out on compensation you are owed.
It is also important to note that pedestrian accidents and car accidents are extremely different. Juries and insurance companies often side with pedestrians, regardless of the details of the case. This is because we have been taught that the pedestrian always has the right of way. In reality, pedestrians can cause accidents just as easily as drivers, and you need a qualified attorney to make sure that your voice and perspective are heard.
For effective, reliable legal advice after a pedestrian accident, trust the team at Peach & Weathers. Contact us today to discuss your options.