How to Avoid Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents are a severe problem in the state of Alabama. In fact, a 2018 report published at Patch.com states that Alabama ranks eighth highest in the country in number of pedestrian deaths. The article also mentions that more pedestrians are being killed in motor vehicle accidents today than at any other time in the past 25 years of history. In fact more than 100 people are killed in these accidents every year in our state. Whether you’re a pedestrian or a driver, doing your part to prevent pedestrian collisions is key in Alabama.
How Pedestrian Accidents Happen
Preventing pedestrian accidents starts with an understanding of how these accidents occur in the first place. Both pedestrians and drivers need to take responsibility, as the negligence of both can cause crashes. Some of the most common causes of pedestrian collisions include:
- Driver failing to look to their right when making a right-hand turn (many drivers only look for oncoming traffic to their left, colliding directly into a pedestrian entering a crosswalk).
- Distracted driving or walking. Many experts think that the ubiquity of handheld devices and smart phones has contributed to the uptick in pedestrian crashes as drivers and walkers are more distracted than ever before.
- Intoxicated or impaired driving.
- Failure to yield. Pedestrians should not assume that they always have the right of way (they don’t) and enter the roadway to cross whenever is convenient for them. Similarly, drivers should always yield to pedestrian in crosswalks when failure to do so would lead to a crash, and should exercise caution when crossing crosswalks or entering other pedestrian-inhabited zones.
Your Duty to Prevent Pedestrian Accidents
If you are a driver in the state of Alabama, you have a duty to operate your vehicle with the same duty of care as a reasonable driver would, which means refraining from breaching any traffic laws and acting negligently, and exercising caution when pedestrians are around. When you are in an area where pedestrians are likely (and often anytime you get behind the wheel of a car), you should:
- Slow down – if you see a pedestrian, reduce your speed even if signs to not instruct you to do so;
- Put your phone or other handheld device away – You should never be using your phone or other handheld device while you are operating a motor vehicle, but when pedestrians are around, being aware and driving without distractions is especially important; and
- Prepare to yield if you need to – While you may have the right of way in many situations, including when a traffic light gives you the go-ahead, you don’t want to hit a pedestrian. As such, be prepared to yield to a pedestrian even if you have the right of way if failure to yield would mean hitting the pedestrian.
What to Do as a Pedestrian to Stay Safe
Pedestrians are also obligated to exercise a basic duty of care when walking around. As a pedestrian, take your earbuds out and put your phone away when walking – looking down prevents you from being able to see hazards in front of you, and listening to music prevents you from being able to hear approaching vehicles. Walk, don’t run, when crossing streets to reduce the risk of a trip and fall. If you’re going out when visibility is poor, such as in the early morning or evening, wear bright colors and consider adding reflective materials to your clothing to help drivers see you. Finally, familiarize yourself with pedestrian laws in our state and know when you have the right of way and when you’re required to yield.
Our Lawyers Are Here to Help
If you are struck by a car and suffer injuries, our legal team at Smith & McGhee, P.C. wants to help you. To schedule a free consultation with our law offices, please call us today at 334-708-3158, send us a request for more information, or come into our Dothan office today.