Back-to-School Safety Tips to Avoid Auto-Pedestrian Accidents
Each year “back-to-school” season sees an influx of student pedestrians and increased traffic around school zones in cities and towns like Barnstable, Yarmouth, Falmouth, Sandwich and all over Cape Cod. Factors like busier schedules, multitasking, and rushing around lead to bad habits like distracted driving. According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted drivers account for the majority of auto-pedestrian accidents in Massachusetts. Due to a pedestrian’s vulnerability when struck by a motor vehicle, the victim often suffers severe catastrophic injury and tragically, sometimes accidental death.
Top Causes of Auto-Pedestrian Accidents
A recent report from the NHTSA states that over 70,000 pedestrians are struck and injured by automobiles annually, and over 4,000 of these accidents resulted in death. Auto-pedestrian accidents often happen in busy intersections where there is a lot going on and the driver fails to see the smaller profiled pedestrian. A few of the most common factors contributing to driver negligence are:
- Distracted driving
- Failing to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks
- Disobeying traffic signals or signs
- Failing to use directionals
- Disregarding poor weather or traffic conditions
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Tips for Drivers to Help Prevent Auto-Pedestrian Accidents
- Follow posted speed limits – especially in areas of heavy pedestrian traffic. This is more important in areas that have lower speed limits, such as school zones and neighborhood streets where pedestrians are likely to appear.
- Yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk – Drivers should be sure to yield whenever you see a pedestrian in a crosswalk, and pedestrians should make sure to use crosswalks to cross the street whenever possible.
- Wipers on, lights on – Overall visibility is limited in rainy or snowy weather conditions and poorly lit areas. This makes it hard for drivers to see oncoming pedestrians, it also makes it difficult for pedestrians to see vehicles. Drive with extra caution during inclement weather.
- Avoid distracted driving – Make driving priority one! We can’t state enough that distracted drivers are the leading cause of auto-pedestrian accidents. Wait until you get to your destination to take care of texting, emails, eating, etc.
Safe Walking Tips for Pedestrians
- Use the crosswalk – Pedestrians can help to avoid accidents by utilizing crosswalks as much as possible and avoiding “jay-walking” at intersections. Stay alert, even when in a crosswalk.
- Walk against traffic – Walking on the side of the road that goes against oncoming traffic helps the pedestrian see possible oncoming threats and it helps drivers see you as well. Use extra caution when walking in areas where there are no sidewalks or when walking on the shoulder of a road.
- Wear bright colored or reflective clothing – especially when walking or jogging in the nighttime or twilight hours. Much like the reflectors on a bicycle, your clothing can help you to be visible to cars on the road.
- Walk sober – Navigating city streets on foot while under the influence of alcohol, cannabis, or any other drug is a bad idea. With your awareness hindered and your reaction time slowed down, you are much more likely to be struck by a vehicle. If your inebriated when leaving a bar or party, call a cab or grab an Uber. It’s worth it.
- Avoid “distracted walking” – Much like with driving a vehicle, it is important to stay aware of your surroundings and be ready to react to a possible threat. Save the texting and social media for your destination and if you need to respond to something, pause from walking and take care of your business. Avoid wearing earbuds or headphones as well. Many warning signs from the sound of tires screeching to a car horn could be missed while your rocking out to your favorite tunes.
Experienced Cape Cod Auto-Pedestrian Accident Attorneys: Aiken & Aiken, P.C.
We hope this information and these safety tips will help you and your family have a safe back-to-school season. If you, your child, or anyone you know has been the victim of an auto-pedestrian accident due to a distracted driver ’s negligence, please contact us to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.