Allentown Personal Injury Lawyer Helping You Avoid Pedestrian Accidents

September 9, 2020

According to the Pedestrian Safety section of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 5,977 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in the U.S. in 2017. That’s about one death every 88 minutes. Moreover, an estimated 137,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency departments for nonfatal crash-related injuries in 2017. Per trip, pedestrians are one-and-a-half times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to be killed in a car crash.

Furthermore, pedestrian auto fatalities in 2019 were projected to be at their highest level since 1988, reaching 6,590 deaths, according to a report published in 2020 by the Governors Highway Association (GHA). This 2019 total represents a 6% increase from its estimate of 6,227 pedestrians killed in 2018. The GHA says this projection represents a continuation of an increasing trend in pedestrian crash deaths going back to 2009.

These are sobering statistics. They bear out the assumptions that:

  1. Motor vehicle drives are not adept at spotting pedestrians entering their path or are simply not paying enough attention, and
  2. Pedestrians are often distracted and not paying enough attention to oncoming traffic.

If you have been involved in a pedestrian-related accident in Pennsylvania, either as a driver or as a pedestrian, let an Allentown personal injury lawyer help.

Pedestrian Safety Tips

Pedestrians may believe that the responsibility for their safety rests entirely on motor vehicle drivers. In other words, drivers should simply be more careful and aware. This is dangerous thinking. Even if it is true, how much help is blaming a driver when you’re laid up in the hospital? There are precautions that every pedestrian should take heed of, including:

  • Be predictable. Don’t make drivers guess where you’re going or what you’re about to do. Follow the rules of the road and obey all traffic signs and signals. However harmless you may think it is, do not jaywalk.
  • Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers and make sure you are seen.
  • Stay alert at all times. Don’t be distracted by mobile phones or other electronic devices that take your eyes and ears off any crossing.
  • Be visible at all times. Wear bright clothing and reflective materials and use flashlights or other bright devices, especially at night.
  • Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections whenever they are available. This is where drivers expect to see pedestrians. Look for cars in all directions, including those turning left or right, whenever making a crossing.
  • If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate an area where you have the best view of traffic, preferably an area that is well-lit. 
  • Again, if no crosswalk or intersection is available, wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross safely and continue watching for traffic as you cross.
  • Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available.
  • If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
  • In particular, watch for cars entering or exiting driveways, or backing up in parking lots.
  • Avoid alcohol, drugs, and any other substance that impairs your abilities and your judgment.

Driver Safety Tips

The fact is, in a motor vehicle-pedestrian accident, it is the pedestrian who suffers the lion’s share of the injuries. Drivers bear the primary responsibility for avoiding accidents with pedestrians, as acknowledged in traffic law. Precautions that every driver should be aware of include:

  • Constantly swivel your head from side-to-side and be on the lookout for pedestrians everywhere, all the time. This is the type of defensive driving that all drivers should be engaged in any way.
  • Obey all speed limits, and slow down even further around any pedestrians.
  • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and stop well back from the crosswalk to give other vehicles an opportunity to see the crossing pedestrians so they can stop too.
  • Be aware of crosswalks; slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk.
  • Be extra cautious when backing up; use a combination of left-right-left head swivels and your vehicle’s backup camera to identify any pedestrians who have or may move into your path.
  • Never, ever pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. There may be people crossing that you can’t see.
  • Be especially careful and vigilant when driving in hard-to-see conditions, such as at night or in inclement weather.
  • Pay close attention to school zones and in neighborhoods where children are present.
  • Be extremely careful when driving near college campuses. College students are constantly using crosswalks to travel from class to class or to/from school to/from home, and are often distracted by music through headphones or earbuds.
  • Of course, never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. 

Keeping Your Kids Safe As They Walk Along Pennsylvania Roadways

Elementary and middle-school school children are very impulsive and active. Even as they are growing and learning, children age ten and younger need your guidance, attention, and supervision when playing and walking near traffic.

Driving behind school busses can be very annoying for adult drivers, especially those that are rushing to get to work on time or to get home after a long day. However, this is the very time when additional caution is needed.

If you are driving behind a school bus, remember:

  • Flashing yellow lights on a school bus mean to slow down! Don’t speed up out of frustration, because the bus is preparing to stop. There will be children waiting to get on the bus or parents waiting nearby to pick their children up. 
  • Red flashing lights on a school bus mean stop! You should wait at least 20 feet behind the bus because children are getting on or off. Stay stopped until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop-arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving.
  • Even when lights aren’t flashing, watch for children, particularly around school arrival and dismissal times. Be especially alert as you back out of a driveway, drive through a neighborhood, a school zone, or a bus stop.

For parents, be sure to get your children to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. A common and useful acronym to teach your children is known as SAFE:

  • Stay at least five steps away from the curb.
  • Always wait until the bus comes to a complete stop and the bus driver signals for you to board.
  • Face forward after sitting in your seat.
  • Exit the bus after it stops, and look left-right-left for vehicles before crossing a street.

Contact an Allentown Personal Injury Lawyer at Drake, Hileman & Davis for Assistance

Accidents involving pedestrians can have severe consequences for both the driver and the pedestrian. If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident, whether as a driver or as a pedestrian, an Allentown personal injury attorney at Drake, Hileman & Davis can help. 

Contact us for further information and to schedule your free consultation.