Car accidents claim the lives of many individuals each year; however, not all victims are vehicle occupants. Some of the lives claimed belonged to pedestrians struck by vehicles, both in urban and rural areas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that nearly 6,000 people died in these types of accidents in 2017, with hundreds of thousands more injured.
Many pedestrian/auto deaths are preventable, and understanding the risk factors may help those traveling on foot remain more aware of the possible dangers and protect themselves more effectively.
Seniors account for a significant number of pedestrian deaths each year. This is likely due to an increased risk of fractures when struck by a vehicle and because they may travel more slowly in crosswalks and across rural streets, making them more at risk for a pedestrian accident. Young children are also at risk because of their size, making them more difficult for drivers to see, especially if they dart out into traffic to chase a ball or a pet.
Time of day
Walking at pre-dawn or dusk hours typically increases the risk of a pedestrian accident because of low driver visibility. Bright fall and winter days, where the sun sets early, may also increase the risk because drivers traveling west may have their sight partially obstructed. Pedestrians can protect themselves in several ways, including:
- Carrying a flashlight at dusk and after sunset
- Wearing reflective strips or vest
- Walking on sidewalks when possible
Pedestrians may want to understand that drivers might not always see them or fall victim to the many distractions those behind the wheel usually face. Vigilance and a focus on safety may prevent these accidents from occurring.