As the temperatures warm up, more people decide to get outside, which poses an increased risk of accidents. Each year, more than 5,000 pedestrians are killed in traffic accidents in the U.S. and over 125,000 injured. In South Carolina alone, there are more than 1,000 pedestrian collision accidents each year. Unfortunately, these tragedies increase in the summer months.
Common Risks South Carolina Residents Face
The severity and types of risks that people face walking along South Carolina roadways can depend on a variety of factors according to the state’s Department of Public Safety. In 2016 alone, most pedestrian accidents occurred on secondary roads and nearly half took place between 3:00 p.m. and midnight.
More males (65%) were injured than females, and the most prominent age group involved in accidents was ages 25-34. A majority (62.9%) of cases involved a pedestrian walking, cycling, or playing. There are other groups of people, however, that face risks as well.
Older adults and children are particularly susceptible to pedestrian accidents and injuries. Older adults may lack mobility and have impaired senses. Children, when not supervised, don’t understand the risks associated with playing near busy roads.
What is the Driver’s Responsibility?
Pedestrians are the most vulnerable people on the road because they don’ t have the benefit of a motor vehicle for protection. Pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely to be killed in an accident than the occupant of a motor vehicle.
Drivers of cars and trucks have a duty to operate their equipment safely and not harm others. When they fail in their duty and harm someone else, they could be held responsible for any preventable accident and injuries to pedestrians. Some of the responsibilities that drivers in South Carolina have include:
- Attentive Driving. Drivers should avoid all distractions when driving since this is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle crashes.
- Safe Speed. Drivers must obey all posted speed limits and drive only at speeds that are safe for conditions – construction, heavy traffic, adverse weather.
- Crossing. Drivers must be particularly cautious around intersections, crosswalks, and other signals, watching for pedestrians and reducing speed as appropriate.
- Turn Signals. A driver should activate their turn signal at least 100 feet before a turn to prevent pedestrians from crossing under unsafe conditions.
- DUI. Drivers should never get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The Pedestrian’s Responsibility
Pedestrians often have the right of way, but they still have some responsibilities under South Carolina law. If you are pedestrian, you must:
- Use a sidewalk, if one is present, when pushing a stroller, using an assistive device, or traveling on rollerblades or a skateboard.
- Travel on the shoulder of the road if no sidewalk is present
- Travel on the left side of the road if no shoulder or sidewalk is present
- Use crosswalks when present and wait for crossing signals
- Yield to oncoming traffic if crossing in an area that does not have a crosswalk
Injured in a South Carolina Pedestrian Accident?
Summertime brings its own set of unique risks on South Carolina’s roads. There is an influx of out of state drivers on summer vacation as well as more pedestrians taking advantage of the favorable weather. When disaster strikes, the results can be devastating to you and your loved ones.
At Peake & Fowler, our South Carolina pedestrian accident lawyers advocate for the rights of victims of these tragedies. Our firm has the tools and resources to help injured pedestrians and their families fully understand their options and fight for the compensation they deserve.
Contact our Columbia office now at 800-946-9461 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation.