Pedestrians are some of the most vulnerable people on or near our nation’s roadways. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that over 150,000 people are treated in emergency rooms, and nearly 5,000 people are killed due to pedestrian accidents each year.
People of every age and background are at risk of becoming involved in one of these tragic events, but some people face a higher risk than others. The CDC states that teens and young adults (ages 15-29) are more likely to be injured as pedestrians, and people who have been drinking are more likely to be killed. Young children and the elderly also face significant risks, where one-fifth of all traffic fatalities among children aged 14 and under are pedestrian accidents.
Leading Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Sidewalks, bike paths, and designated walking areas are meant to keep pedestrians and drivers safe, as are the rules of the road. Unfortunately, when the paths of a pedestrian and a motor vehicle cross, the results can be devastating. Some of the common reasons that these accidents occur include:
- Distracted or inattentive driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Rolling through a stop sign
- Speeding through a residential area
- Recklessly driving through a crosswalk
- Failing to follow other traffic laws
Whether you are a driver or someone who is an occasional pedestrian, the risks of these accidents are too great not to take some precautions. Here are some safety tips for drivers and pedestrians to avoid these tragic events.
Tips for Drivers to Reduce Pedestrian Accidents
A South Carolina driver must exercise a reasonable degree of care around pedestrians to keep them free from harm. As a driver, you can avoid these terrible accidents with the following tips:
- Always keep an eye out for pedestrians.
- Slow down when approaching a crosswalk, school zone, intersection, or other area that is known to have pedestrians.
- Back out of parking spaces slowly and cautiously.
- Avoid any distractions while driving.
- Follow the rules of the road always.
- Keep your windshield and mirrors clean so that you have an unobstructed view of your surroundings.
- Make eye contact with pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections to let them know they are visible.
Tips for Pedestrians to Reduce Accidents
If you are a pedestrian in South Carolina, you often have the right-of-way but are still required to follow some rules. In short, you have a duty to protect your own safety, which means that you should avoid doing anything that is reckless or that contributes to the accident or the severity of your injuries. Because South Caroline is a comparative negligence state, failing to take precautions could impact your ability to collect damages after a pedestrian accident.
The ways that you can avoid these potentially deadly accidents as a pedestrian include:
- Always use a sidewalk when there is one available.
- If there is no sidewalk, you should walk facing oncoming traffic.
- Use crosswalks when you cross the road, even if you must go out of your way to find one.
- When you are crossing the street, avoid making unpredictable movements.
- When possible, make yourself visible to motorists with bright clothing or by using a light in poor weather or at night.
- Avoid distractions such as cell phones and headphones that will prevent you from seeing or hearing approaching vehicles.
- Avoid walking alone if you’ve been drinking as your judgment could be impaired.
- Stay alert for vehicles that aren’t following the rules or that don’t see you.
What to Do If You’ve Been Struck by a Vehicle in South Carolina
If you or someone you care about has been involved in a pedestrian accident, there is a chance that severe injuries and damages are now your reality. The human body is no match for a motor vehicle or commercial truck, so many pedestrian accidents result in severe injuries and sometimes death.
Most pedestrian accidents come down to the fault of a careless or reckless driver, so you may be able to collect damages from the negligent party. At Peake & Fowler, we have successfully represented the interests of people just like you, who are hurting and need a strong legal advocate.