For most of us, traveling on foot allows a pleasant way to relax or complete simple errands while also reaping the health benefits of being outside in the fresh air and getting good cardio exercise. But no matter the distance being traveled, pedestrians must be vigilant for their own safety. This is even more important with significant expansion to road infrastructure in so many towns and cities—all due to increased numbers of motorists on the roads today.
Lack of focus on the part of motorists and the sheer weight and power of their cars can be a great threat to others on the road. As pedestrians, we are at our most vulnerable physically (along with motorcyclists and bicyclists), but most of us own vehicles too and do our best to practice safe driving every time we go somewhere. Unfortunately, there are myriad reasons that drivers become distracted and put everyone in danger. The smartphone is often the culprit, and even with a constant focus on the dangers of distracted driving in the US today, hundreds of thousands are injured on the roads each year. And while the number of pedestrian fatalities may sound small (around 6,000 per year), recent news points to a surprising increase in fatalities since 2009.
Analysts see a correlation between distracted driving and pedestrian fatalities, but also have concerns that everyone on the road is distracted today. The problem is that when both motorists and pedestrians are distracted, those driving the cars tend to walk away from an accident while pedestrians have a much greater chance of being killed or severely injured.
“We already know that distraction is a serious concern for both drivers and pedestrians,” says Richard Retting, general manager of Sam Schwartz, a New York City–based traffic engineering firm. “When people aren’t seeing threats, it makes everyone more vulnerable.”
The chance of fatalities is much greater when seniors are hit by cars, as well as when alcohol or speeding are involved. Pedestrians are also much more vulnerable in areas not designated as crosswalks or paths.
“In a lot of places where pedestrian crashes occur, the road isn’t inherently safe for all modes of travel,” said Laura Sandt, the director of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center at the University of North Carolina.
When traveling as a pedestrian, be alert and make sure you are very visible to motorists and others. Walk on sidewalks and crosswalks as much as possible and be aware of and make use of traffic rules. Although motorists should be taking caution in pedestrian areas, that is not always the case, so make eye contact whenever possible as you get ready to cross the street.
Have you or a loved one been injured in a pedestrian accident due to the negligence of others? Call our office for a free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys. We handle all types of Florida personal injury cases, and our law firm has established an impressive record of verdicts and settlements. If you have been seriously injured, call us now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!
All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.