In Southern California, the weather is almost always beautiful enough to spend time outdoors. Children playing in parks, runners and pedestrians on sidewalks: all of these are customary warm-weather sights. Unfortunately, the combination of many pedestrians and drivers near the road is not always agreeable. A 37-year-old Oceanside pedestrian was injured in a hit-and-run accident early this year when a car struck him as he walked on Sunset Drive. The man suffered serious head injuries, and the driver has not been apprehended. California led the nation in number of pedestrian fatalities in both 2013 and 2014, with roughly 700 pedestrians killed in auto accidents per year. Even worse, 23 percent of all car accident fatalities in California were pedestrians, far higher than the United States average of 14 percent.
Because pedestrians are not protected by the shell of a vehicle or its built-in safety features, the risk of severe injuries and fatalities to pedestrians is enormous. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely to be killed in a collision than motor vehicle occupants. Older adults and children are significantly more likely to be involved in pedestrian-motor vehicle crashes, as are both pedestrians and drivers under the influence of alcohol. Both pedestrians and drivers have a responsibility to help prevent collisions. We can all work together to increase safety on roads and sidewalks by following these tips.
Follow all road and sidewalk signs, including “Walk” and “Do Not Walk” signs, and make sure to use crosswalks when possible.
Avoid jaywalking, especially in high-traffic areas, to avoid being unseen by drivers while crossing.
Walk on a sidewalk or path when possible. If unavailable, walk on the shoulder of the street and facing traffic so that oncoming motorists can see you.
Be alert for cars on the road if you must walk in or near the street.
If walking at night, wear reflective clothing to make yourself visible and carry a flashlight to increase your own visibility.
Do not walk near streets or traffic while under the influence of alcohol.
Be vigilant about staying alert and watching for pedestrians, especially at night and in crosswalks.
Avoid driving over the speed limit, as the severity of pedestrian injuries increases significantly at higher speeds.
Do not text while driving. Distracted driving causes thousands of accidents every year in both collisions with other cars and pedestrians, and is one of the most preventable causes of motor vehicle accidents.
Do not drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Alcohol is a factor in a majority of pedestrian-motor vehicle collisions.
If you do accidentally strike a pedestrian, stop your vehicle and call an ambulance. Do not let an accident become a hit and run.
What To Do If You Are Involved in an Accident
If you or a loved one was injured in a pedestrian accident, the most important thing you can do is get legal help. Call the experienced car crash attorneys at The Sargent Firm Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation to discuss your case today.