Look Both Ways: Major Causes for Pedestrian Accidents

There are few things as tragic in life as the unnatural and preventable loss of it. Unfortunately, that tragedy is on the rise, especially when looking at pedestrian-related deaths. According to 2016 CDC statistics, 5,987 people were killed in this manner in the United States alone, with a further 129,000 rushed to the ER with non-fatal injuries the year prior. These statistics keep growing with time.

While not all of these fatalities could be avoided, the majority could have been with proper caution, habits, and preventative measures. To help spread this awareness and lower the number of fatalities, we’ve compiled a list of the top major causes of pedestrian accidents. Read further to find out what they are and how to steer clear of them.

  1. Distracted Driving

Without a doubt one of the biggest causes of accidents in the smartphone age, distracted driving is something everyone needs to be aware of. As cliché as it sounds, it can wait. You don’t need to answer that text right now. You also don’t need to change the song on Spotify, answer that phone call, or grab whatever fell out of your pocket right this second. And if it can’t wait for whatever reason, pull over to a safe spot and take care of it then. It should go without saying, but as long as you’re moving, keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. No excuses.

  1. Distracted Walking

Hand in hand with distracted driving, distracted walking causes its own fair share of fatal accidents every year. If you’ve ever walked around a city, you’ve definitely seen people crossing the road with headphones on or while texting. Don’t follow in their footsteps. When walking around traffic, turn your music off and keep your phone in your pocket. Just being aware of your surroundings will keep you significantly safer.

  1. Poor Visibility

Poor visibility conditions are always a recipe for disaster and that’s no different with pedestrian-related accidents. If you’re driving at night or in heavy fog, always keep a closer eye out for people walking and try to avoid driving when you can. Meanwhile if you’re the one walking at night, dress in bright colors, wear reflective tape, and/or make sure you’re carrying a light. Whatever you do, just make sure you’re visible to cars (and other pedestrians)! After all, hitting someone is a lot less likely if you actually know they’re there.

  1. Left Turns

Statistically, pedestrian accidents are three times as likely to happen when a car is making a left turn. While you can’t really control what direction traffic is going in, be extra cautious if you’re out walking and see a car turning left. Pay close attention to the driver’s actions and don’t cross the road unless you feel comfortable that they clearly see you and will properly stop.

  1. Drunk Driving and Walking

Contrary to what would be expected, most pedestrian accidents involving accidents involve the walking party having a blood alcohol content above legal limit – not the driver. This makes it imperative that you monitor how much you’re drinking before commuting anywhere on foot. The safest course of action is to simply stay in. If you’re drinking at a bar, grab a Lyft or Uber instead of trying your luck walking home. Trust us. We’d rather you be overly cautious than sorry. Of course, as always, don’t drink and drive either!

  1. Heavy Traffic

Last but most certainly not least, heavy traffic is a huge factor when looking at these terrible incidents. When streets are busy, it’s easy to lose track of everything that’s happening and not see someone you should’ve. As a pedestrian, it’s also very easy to lose patience and take a risky crossing when you know you shouldn’t. Be mindful of this. Only cross when you know its safe and if you’re driving, ensure you yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and constantly scan for anyone crossing where they shouldn’t. This not only keeps everyone out walking safe but you as well.