Oregon is a state full of outdoor enthusiasts. With so many natural resources, it’s no wonder that people are looking for opportunities to hike, bike, swim, kayak, walk, and enjoy nature. Sometimes though, people don’t have enough time to travel to a park or hiking trail, which is why we commonly see walkers, bikers, and joggers on streets and sidewalks in our neighborhoods, towns, and cities.
Of course, we also see pedestrians who are not necessarily looking for exercise. Some don’t have cars and may be walking to or from a store. Many people must park and walk along public roads to get to and from their offices. Others may be walking through parking lots or window shopping in businesses that are near a road. Regardless of their reason for being on foot, pedestrians are at risk any time they’re near cars. While pedestrians can certainly take steps to protect themselves, drivers can also help. In this article, we will provide some tips on how drivers can help reduce pedestrian accidents and injuries.
How Common Are Pedestrian Accidents?
Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents are a real problem in the United States and have been for a number of years. In a previous blog, we discussed the surge in pedestrian deaths in 2016 and 2017. But how have pedestrians fared since then? Having weathered the coronavirus pandemic for more than a year, we all know that more drivers stayed home and that there has been significantly less traffic during that time. One would hope this would result in fewer pedestrian fatalities. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) performed an analysis of national trends and released a report, followed by an addendum, based on 2020 data. Six thousand, four hundred and twelve (6,412) pedestrians were killed in the United States in 2019. The number of deaths increased a whopping 21 percent in 2020 to 6,721. Forbes suggests that dangerous and distracted driving may be to blame for the increase.
How Can Motor Vehicle Drivers Help?
Car and truck drivers can help reduce pedestrian accidents by remaining alert and driving responsibly. Below are some tips:
- Scan with your eyes from side to side when driving. If you only look straight ahead, you might not see a pedestrian until it is too late.
- Do not be a distracted driver. Most people have been distracted at one time or another to look at a cell phone, misbehaving child, or other distractions. Taking your eyes off the road or swerving while distracted can kill or injure a pedestrian.
- Pay special attention at night or in bad weather conditions. Pedestrians are harder to see at night or when the weather is bad. GHSA reports that 75 percent of pedestrian deaths occur after dark.
- Drive slowly and pay special attention in crosswalks. This is a common area for pedestrian accidents. Don’t pass a car at a crosswalk – it may be waiting for a pedestrian you can not see to cross.
- Do not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Review other safety driving tips designed to protect pedestrians published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Call with Questions
If you have suffered personal injury from a pedestrian accident due to the negligence of another person, you probably have a lot on your mind. You may be dealing with doctors, a hospital, and a wide variety of medical bills. One or more insurance companies may be involved in your claim. You may also have questions about lost wages, your legal rights, how to settle your case, or whether a trial will be required. We can answer all of these questions for you.
The experienced personal injury lawyers at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield handle injury cases all over Oregon and can help you negotiate a complicated legal landscape. Please call us for a free consultation. We believe that the only way to keep society safe for everyone is by holding those accountable who negligently injure others.