Pedestrian accidents resulting in injury or death have been on the rise since 2011. A pedestrian, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), is any person on foot, walking, running, hiking, sitting, or lying down. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) further describes pedestrians as anyone in a wheelchair or stroller or similar means. In 2012 there were 4,743 pedestrian fatalities from traffic crashes. That is a six percent increase from the number of pedestrian fatalities from traffic accidents in 2011.
The CDC reports that pedestrians are among “the most vulnerable users of the road.” Those most at risk of that group are children and seniors. Children and elderly adults cannot judge distance or speed as well as adults, and children don’t have as much knowledge about traffic safety and rules.
There are some ways, though, that we can help avoid pedestrian traffic incidents.
Tips for Pedestrians:
When walking or running at night, wear bright clothing or reflective clothing like a safety vest, and carry a flashlight with you.
If you’re crossing streets at night, be sure to cross streets wherever the area is well-lit and wait for an appropriate gap in traffic to cross.
Whenever it is possible, cross the street at designated crosswalks. Drivers are more likely to slow down or stop at designated crossing areas.
Always walk on the sidewalk, but if the sidewalk is unavailable, walk facing the traffic. Do not assume that drivers see you, making eye contact with drivers as they come closer will help make sure they do see you.
Whenever crossing streets, be sure to look in both directions of traffic before crossing the street. Also check for turning traffic, they may not see you because they are looking for oncoming traffic so they may turn.
Be alert. These days it is easy for us to become distracted by our cell phones and other electronic devices. When walking or running be sure to keep your attention on the traffic and your route.
When walking with children, keep them close to you or hold their hands to help keep them from straying into oncoming traffic.
The NHTSA also warns about the effect of alcohol and drugs on your ability to judge distance and speed as well as your awareness of your surroundings.
Tips for Drivers:
It is important to remember that we are all pedestrians. As soon as we leave our vehicles, we are pedestrians.
Be on the look out for pedestrians at all times.
When visibility is bad, due to weather or nighttime conditions, be extra cautious for pedestrians crossing streets or walking along roadsides.
Slow down or stop at crosswalks to ensure pedestrians can walk across streets safely.
Yield to pedestrians in cross walks. Not only is this the law in Louisiana, it helps other drivers know they should stop because they are more likely to see you stop than see the pedestrian.
Do not pass stopped vehicles at crosswalks – there may be people using the crosswalk that you haven’t seen. This can be especially true for children crossing streets because they are shorter and cannot be seen through or over other vehicles.
Keep to the posted speed limits and follow the slower speed limits posted for school zones and neighborhoods; they are slower so you can look out for children that are present and may run into the street.
Be careful when backing out of your driveway or parking space. Always look behind you before you move your vehicle.
Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs; they impair judgment, and it is illegal.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian related traffic incident, it is important to seek medical treatment immediately and to contact a pedestrian accident attorney. A New Orleans car accident attorney at The Lambert Firm can help determine who is liable and can file a claim for lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Contact an attorney at The Lambert Firm here or call us at 1-800-521-1750.