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Do Pedestrian Accidents Increase in the Summer?

pedestrian accident attorney in alabama

Summertime means more people are on the roads, including motorists, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Unfortunately, it also means more pedestrian accidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports nearly 6,000 pedestrians died in traffic-related events in 2017, roughly the same number as the year before. That’s about one fatality every 88 minutes.

Nationwide, pedestrian fatalities increased 27 percent from 2007 to 2016, while other traffic fatalities decreased by 14 percent according to Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).

According to NHTSA, during the summer months of June to August, 33% of pedestrian fatalities occur from 9 pm to midnight, when the temperatures cool down, and visibility is poor.

The GHSA reports that in Alabama during the first six months of 2017, there were 59 pedestrian fatalities compared to 55 the year before. So clearly pedestrian fatalities are a growing problem.

What are some of the pedestrian danger factors?

Pedestrian Safety Factors

Summertime generally has more people out walking than any other time of the year. Walking is a healthy pursuit and many people who can, walk to work. There is reported to be a 4% increase in walking activity over the past decade.

But many motorists can easily forget that others have the same rights to the roadways and sidewalks as drivers, but they do not have the same protections offered by a motor vehicle. 

In addition, during evening hours, many choose to walk, but that may be the time it’s most difficult to see a pedestrian.

More Drivers in the Summer

The kids are out of school, so it’s a perfect time to learn to drive. But teen drivers have less experience and may not be trained to see pedestrians. Many find themselves behind the wheel of their parents’ SUV, which is a more difficult vehicle in terms of visibility and maneuverability for the inexperienced driver.

We also have more people on the roads taking vacations and many of them may be from out of town and less familiar with our roadways.

Holiday parties, concerts, barbeques are all occasions where alcohol consumption may be increased and that often does not stop a driver from getting behind the wheel.

To make matters worse, distracted driving means drivers are not always paying attention, and then there is the distracted pedestrian. It is tough to imagine that someone has their head firmly focused on their cellphone rather than the conditions surrounding them as they walk, but that is the reality and we find many pedestrians are walking while distracted.

Know the Law

It is the law in Alabama for pedestrians to avoid walking on the roadway and choose the sidewalks. It is against the law for a pedestrian to walk intoxicated from any substance.

Pedestrians must follow traffic signals and avoid jaywalking, so that means walk in the pedestrian crosswalks where they are marked. When following the signals and crossing in a marked crosswalk, the pedestrian has the right of way and the vehicle must yield to him.

If there is no crosswalk or signal, then the motorist has the right of way. A pedestrian should walk facing oncoming traffic on the left side of the road.

Pedestrian Safety Tips

Some safety tips include:

* Please do not wear ear buds so you can’t listen to the conditions of the road

* Avoid texting while walking or be distracted by your cellphone

* Be sure to walk on the sidewalks or as far from traffic as possible

* Cross in crosswalks and follow the lights

* Never dart out between parked cars to cross the street

* Wear clothing that makes you visible

* At night carry a flashlight

* Watch for cars entering or existing driveways or parking lots

* Avoid alcohol or drugs while walking

* Watch for cars that may try to pass a stopped vehicle that is letting you go

Some communities are more walkable than others. They separate the areas where pedestrians walk and cars drive and offer pedestrian overpasses and underpasses, along with highly visible crosswalks.

This is important, because more pedestrian fatalities occur in urban areas than rural areas.

If you have been injured while walking on an Alabama road, we can review the evidence in your case and provide you with legal advice to help you recover compensation for your losses. Call Smith & McGhee at 334-708-3158 today for a free consultation.