The Top Two Causes of Pedestrian AccidentsCentral New York Legal News
Regardless of your primary method of transportation, we have all been and will all continue to be pedestrians at one point or another. This is why it is so important to know the leading causes of pedestrian accidents. In 2016, a pedestrian was killed every 1.5 hours in traffic crashes. There are many basic safety tips you can follow to prevent pedestrian accidents in New York, whether you’re a pedestrian or a driver. Read on to find out more.
Distracted walking can be as dangerous as distracted driving. Remember to take the following pedestrian precautions whenever you go out on a walk, as outlined by the NHTSA:
- Be predictable. Obeying all posted signs and signals will prevent you from surprising any oncoming drivers and keep you out of harm’s way.
- Stay on the designated walkways and sidewalks whenever possible. If no such walkways or sidewalks exist, walk facing traffic—and as far away from traffic as possible.
- Keep your senses on alert at all times. Don’t be distracted by your phone or any other electronic devices. Your eyes and ears should be focused on the road.
- Cross at crosswalks or intersections whenever possible. Drivers expect pedestrians at these checkpoints and will slow down accordingly. However, you should still look both ways before crossing, in case of a reckless driver.
- If there are no crosswalks or intersections available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Cross safely when there is a gap in traffic, continuing to watch for traffic as you cross.
- If possible, make eye contact with drivers as they approach. This ensures that you are seen. Never operate off the assumption that a driver sees you.
- Keep yourself visible at all times. Wear bright, easy-to-see clothing during the daytime and reflective materials at night. You can use a flashlight if you do not have any reflective clothing.
- Avoid walking while under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. They impair your abilities and judgment, just like when driving.
It comes as no surprise, then, that distracted drivers are another one of the leading causes of pedestrian accidents. The NHTSA defines distracted driving as “any activity that diverts attention from driving.” This includes but is not limited to activities such as talking, texting, eating, drinking, talking to passengers, and fiddling with the stereo.
Of all these, texting is the most serious distraction because it combines three different types of distraction: visual (taking your eyes off the road), manual (taking your hands off the wheel), and cognitive (taking your mind off driving). Sending or reading a text can take your eyes off the road for five seconds. If you’re driving at a speed of 55 mph, that’s equivalent to driving across an entire football field handsfree and with your eyes closed.
It may help to take the following precautions when driving:
- Pull over to a safe location and park your car whenever you have to take your hands off the wheel, including to read a text.
- If you are driving with passengers, appoint someone as your “designated helper” to send and receive your texts, change the stereo, and other activities.
- If none of these precautions are enough to keep you from looking at your phone while driving, make a resolution to keep your phone in the trunk.
Seeking Legal Assistance
If you or a loved one have been involved in a pedestrian accident, you are entitled to seek help from a New York personal injury lawyer. Call the legal offices at Gattuso & Ciotoli, PLLC any time day or night at (315) 314-8000 to schedule a free consultation with a qualified member of our legal team. We have more than 50 years of combined personal injury experience successfully representing and negotiating the best possible outcome for our clients. We can help you, too.