Driving a car requires a significant amount of focused attention on the road. Surprisingly, traveling as a pedestrian requires equal vigilance and focused attention.
Data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 137,000 pedestrians were treated in the emergency room for nonfatal crash-related injuries in 2017. Considering the lack of protection, it makes sense that pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely to die in a car crash than occupants in the car.
Pedestrian injuries can be serious and costly
Thousands of people experience serious injuries after being hit by a car. Some accept insurance settlements while others hire lawyers. The cost of medical treatment is high. However, injured pedestrians can recover a significant amount of compensation through a lawsuit as long as they don’t make any major mistakes that hinder winning their case.
As a pedestrian, you’re extremely vulnerable. Here’s why you need to be extra cautious about vehicles.
1. Even a minor crash can cause severe injuries or death
A minor car crash between two motor vehicles isn’t always devastating for anyone but the car. Even then, sometimes cars with heavy-duty bumpers barely see a scratch. When you’re a pedestrian, however, you won’t be so lucky.
Although a speeding car presents more danger, a car’s speed isn’t the only factor you need to watch out for. It’s possible to get hit by a car backing out of a parking space and be seriously injured or die. This is an especially dangerous scenario since some drivers don’t realize when they’ve hit someone. If a driver backs into you in a parking lot and continues to accelerate, you could be run over.
A car traveling 10mph in a parking lot is equally dangerous if they look away momentarily or don’t see you. They might hit you and continue driving before they realize what’s happened.
2. The cost of healing is high
As an injured pedestrian, the cost of healing is high. You’ll need to take time off work (probably without pay), undergo expensive medical testing and treatments, and the hospital will expect you to pay for anything not covered by your insurance. That’s an overwhelming financial responsibility to shoulder.
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, it’s worth talking to a lawyer to see if you have grounds for a lawsuit. You’ll be offered a seemingly large amount by an insurance company, but that figure almost never covers your true costs.
A lawsuit, on the other hand, has the potential to get you better compensated and will make the insurance company’s settlement offer look like peanuts. For instance, legal experts from ffp law were able to recover $1,350,000 for a pedestrian accident when the insurance company offered $250,000.
3. Drunk or impaired drivers won’t likely see you
According to CDC data, 47% of pedestrian fatalities involved unauthorized substances. In some cases, the driver was intoxicated, but sometimes it was the pedestrian.
A driver impaired by unauthorized substances is less likely to see a pedestrian than if they were not impaired. While impaired people shouldn’t be driving, it does happen and you need to be on alert.
4. Pedestrians are hard to see at night
Everyone knows that pedestrians are hard to see at night. They blend in when they’re wearing dark clothing, but sometimes wearing light clothing isn’t enough. Some drivers have a harder time driving at night and place more of their attention on the road ahead of them rather than what’s in front of them. They may not see a pedestrian in a crosswalk that isn’t connected to a traffic light.
5. Cars turn right on red lights quickly
Think about how you drive. How many times do you look for pedestrians while making a right turn on a red light? Or are you mainly focused on watching the traffic so you can turn when a clearing opens up? Some drivers don’t even stop at a red light before turning right.
It’s easy for drivers to make a right turn on a red light and forget to check for pedestrians one last time. If you’re crossing the street, even at a crosswalk with a green light, pay close attention to cars turning right on a red light.
If a driver is in the far right lane with their blinker on, act as if they’re going to turn. Try to make eye contact with the driver before you start crossing the street. If you start walking at the same moment the driver notices an opening, you could get hit.
Awareness is the key to your safety
Cars have a duty to look out for pedestrians, but they need to be vigilant, too. Regardless of what cars should be doing, you can avoid injury by being extra cautious whenever you’re a pedestrian.
Be a vigilant driver, too
Be careful on foot, but also remember to exercise caution when you’re the driver. Not all pedestrians are aware of their surroundings. Some people walk across the street with their eyes glued to their phones.
People on foot are unpredictable; not all people on foot will be looking to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street. Many people just cross the road regardless of a green or red light and sometimes they don’t even bother to walk in the crosswalk.
Take an extra three seconds to make a full stop at a red light before turning right. Those extra three seconds will give you enough time to look for people about to cross the road right in your turning path.
It’s not always fashionable to stop at a red light, but it’s the law. Despite the law, some people might honk their horn at you for stopping because they’re used to everyone else just blasting through the light. Don’t be that person. People on foot, bicycles, and motorcycles can sneak up beside you to turn right at the same time. By looking out for pedestrians before you turn, you’re also giving yourself the chance to see those bikes and motorcycles.