Now that the weather is getting warmer, more and more pedestrians are likely to be out enjoying a walk or run the spring weather. For motorists, that means shifting gears from thinking about possible snowy and icy road conditions of a New Jersey winter, to constantly being alert of who might be in your path on the road.
Pedestrian-auto accidents are on the rise
Unfortunately, the number of pedestrians killed in auto accidents has been steadily rising over the last decade, going from 13% of crash deaths in 2010 to 16% in 2018. Experts attribute the rise in pedestrian deaths in auto accidents to four main causes:
- More and more people driving heavier vehicles, such as large SUVs and crossover vehicles (with more weight, heavier vehicles cause more serious injuries in pedestrian crashes)
- More and more distracted drivers
- Drivers spending more time on the road, thus increasing the chances of causing an accident
- Increasing population in some states, increasing the chances of vehicle crashes
For drivers, they can avoid a pedestrian accident by following these safety tips from AAA:
- Stay alert. Always keep your eyes on the road and your surroundings. Especially watch for pedestrians at crosswalks or intersections. When you are driving through neighborhoods, watch for children who unexpectedly may dart into the road.
- Follow the posted speed limit. When you are driving the speed limit, you’ll have more time to slow down and avoid an unexpected pedestrian in the road.
- Go slower when weather conditions are bad, or visibility is low. If it’s raining or foggy, or getting darker, you should slow down even more. You still need to be on the lookout for pedestrians, which isn’t always easy in poor conditions.
- Stop when pedestrians are in the crosswalk and don’t pass another vehicle stopped at a crosswalk. Pedestrians have the right of way when they are in the crosswalk.
- Be cautious pulling into and backing out of driveways or alleys. It’s easy for a pedestrian to enter your path and you not realize it.
- Don’t drive drunk. Being under the influence of alcohol reduces your ability to react quickly if your vehicle comes into the path of pedestrian.
Being involved in a pedestrian accident can leave someone severely injured or cause their death. No driver wants that to happen. By following these safety tips, you will be better prepared to avoid a catastrophic pedestrian accident.