Common Pedestrian Accidents – How to Best Handle and Avoid Them

Attorney R. Mack Babcock and associates at the Babcock Law Firm explore the common causes of pedestrian accidents, what to do if you're involved in one, and how to avoid one in the first place

Walking is such an excellent form of exercise and mode of transportation, especially in the crisp mountain air found throughout Colorado.  Some people may choose to do it, while others have no other choice but to walk to their destinations.   Whatever the case may be, it is vital for drivers to be cautious and watch for them on a regular basis.

Below are common reasons why pedestrian accidents occur, along with guidelines about what one should do in the event of an accident.

Unfortunately, the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Association) says there has been an increase in pedestrian fatalities in the United States. (PDF) Statistics show that in 2012, there were 4,743 pedestrians killed and an estimated 76 thousand were injured.  This is a 6-percent increase from 2011.  According to this study, a pedestrian is defined as "any person on foot, walking, running, jogging, hiking, sitting or lying down who is involved in a motor vehicle traffic crash." These statistics do not include those on bicycles.

In 2011, in our beautiful state of Colorado, there were 446 motor vehicle fatalities and 46 of those were pedestrians.  Although we have been known to be a safer state for pedestrians, these accidents still occur!

Common Reasons Pedestrian Accidents Occur

  • Drivers are distracted by texting, talking on a cell phone, fidgeting with something in the car and many other scenarios that cause them to not pay attention to the road.
  • Drivers that are intoxicated
  • Not obeying traffic signals
  • Driving at an excessive speed
  • Driving fast in a school zone
  • Not looking when backing up

What are ways a pedestrian can avoid being hit?

  • You should always cross the street at a crosswalk
  • Wear bright clothing so drivers can easily see you
  • Try to walk on a sidewalk or far enough away from the road
  • Walk facing traffic so you can see if a car seems to be swerving towards you.

How to avoid hitting a pedestrian

  • As NOLO states, the best way to avoid a pedestrian is to be a "defensive driver. " This means to absolutely be aware of any pedestrian that may be walking or doing any activities near where you are driving.  You need to especially be aware of children and the elderly. 
  • Keep looking at them on a constant basis.  Even if it seems they are staying to their side, they could dart out when you are least expecting it.
  • Drive slowly near a pedestrian.  They are much more vulnerable than someone in a car. Fatalities have been known to occur when a driver was going as slow as 10mph.

What to do if you are a pedestrian that has been hit

  • Immediately get checked out medically
  • Contact your insurance company
  • Contact an attorney to discuss your options

If you or a loved one has been injured by a vehicle while out walking, running or hiking, contact our Denver-based law firm for pedestrians for a free consultation. Also, browse through our knowledge center and blog to understand more about pedestrian accidents and your rights. Be safe out there!!!

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