Pedestrians are, without doubt, the most vulnerable users of our roads. Motorcyclists and bicyclists have their helmets. Passenger vehicle drivers, even in the smallest sedan, have the comfort of a steel body protecting them from impact, and the safety of features, like seatbelts and airbags. A pedestrian has nothing to protect him from serious injuries in the event of an accident.
It isn’t uncommon to find a pedestrian who has been struck by a passenger vehicle – one that is driving even at moderate speeds – thrown at least 100 feet away from the point of impact. Crashing down to the ground after an impact like this, can place a pedestrian at serious risk for life-altering injuries, like spinal cord injuries and head injuries.
In any accident involving a passenger vehicle and a pedestrian, it is the pedestrian who is at an overwhelmingly higher risk of being seriously injured.
Unfortunately, many cities in Maryland simply haven’t been designed with pedestrians in mind. The lack of such pedestrian-friendly communities means a much higher risk of being injured in accidents.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
The most common causes of pedestrian accidents are:
- Driver inattention – all drivers must look out for pedestrians, especially at intersections.
- Drunk drivers – in 2010, drunk drivers were linked to 47% of pedestrian accident fatalities.
- Failure to pay attention to pedestrian crosswalks.
- Speeding drivers who fail to stop in time after they spot a pedestrian.
- Poorly designed roads that do not make it easier or safer for pedestrians to cross roads.
What Pedestrians Can Do to Reduce the Risks of an Accident
There’s very little that you can do as a pedestrian to control motorist behavior. However, you can increase your risks of surviving an accident, or lower the chances of being involved in an accident by:
- Crossing only at marked and designated crosswalks
- Wearing highly visible clothing
- Wearing reflective clothing at night, or sticking reflective tape on your clothing
- Avoiding dark-colored clothing at night
- Avoiding walking in poor weather
- Avoiding walking alone – People who walk in groups may be more visible to motorists
- Avoiding distractions while walking