Thousands of people are killed in pedestrian accidents across the U.S. every day. Most happen in urban environments and in places other than an intersection, but they all leave lasting effects on the victims. Most pedestrian accidents are the fault of the motor vehicle involved, not the person walking. Even though pedestrians are responsible for safely crossing and following the rules of pedestrian traffic, vehicles should always yield to foot traffic. When they fail to do so and someone is hurt, the driver of the vehicle may find himself or herself liable for the accident.
Time of Day: Nighttime
More pedestrian accidents (72%) happen at night than any other time of day. The majority of accidents happen between 6:00 p.m. and midnight. Avoid walking at nighttime if possible. If you are walking in any area and it is dark outside, wear reflective clothing. Walk on a sidewalk if one is available and on the side of the road toward oncoming traffic when one is not.
In almost half of fatal pedestrian accidents, the driver, pedestrian, or both were under the influence of alcohol. Drivers and pedestrians should try to have more of an awareness of their surroundings when walking at night to avoid erratic behaviors that may be caused by intoxication.
Texas and Pedestrian Safety
In 2013, California led the nation in pedestrian fatalities, followed by Florida and Texas. Dallas had 38 pedestrian fatalities, which was 27% of the state total. Overall, Texas is the 10th most hazardous state for pedestrians. Local and state governments in many areas like Dallas have been working to improve intersection signals, sidewalk accessibility, and other risk factors, but drivers and pedestrians are also responsible for adopting safe driving and walking habits to reduce the risk of tragic accidents.
How to Avoid a Pedestrian Accident
Although the majority of accidents are caused by drivers, pedestrians failing to follow the rules of the road can also cause problems. If you cannot avoid driving during high risk times of day, use extreme caution driving and walking at night to reduce the risk of being involved in an accident. Here are some other ways to make your travel on the road or by foot safer:
- Call a cab or a friend to drive you somewhere instead of walking if you have had too much to drink.
- Use crosswalks at intersections.
- Make eye contact with drivers if you do not have a crosswalk or you are unsure of whether a driver sees you.
- Wear visible clothing during any time of day.
- Help the elderly cross the street when possible.
- Always hold a child’s hand before crossing the road, and avoid letting children play out in the streets around dusk.
- Pay careful attention at crosswalks, and yield to any pedestrians in your half of the roadway or who are close enough to be in danger.
- Never drink and drive.
- Do not pass vehicles at crosswalks.
- Slowdown in areas known for a large amount of foot traffic.
- Use particular caution when driving in neighborhoods, around schools, and in other areas where children are likely to play unattended.
Accidents involving pedestrians tend to be highly injurious, since pedestrians are unprotected from the full impact of a vehicle. Some people are never able to fully recover from accidents and may suffer both physical and emotional trauma. If you have been in a pedestrian accident, talk with a pedestrian accident attorney as soon as you can to learn more about insurance coverage available to you in Texas and to start an independent investigation into your case.