Now that classes are in full swing at Louisiana State University and K-12 schools are shifting back to in-person learning, drivers are going to find more pedestrians in crosswalks and intersections. With more pedestrians on roadways comes the greater risks of accidents, which unfortunately have been on the rise.
Sadly, the number of pedestrians killed in accidents with cars hit a 30-year high in 2019, with 6,590 pedestrian fatalities in the United States. The total number killed in 2019 also represented a 5% increase from 2018’s pedestrian accident deaths: 6,277.
Why pedestrian accident deaths are on the rise
Experts cite a number of reasons for the increasing number of pedestrian fatalities in car accidents:
- More drivers are distracted drivers. Taking time to check your cell phone while driving (or text) can easily be enough time to miss seeing a pedestrian begin crossing at an intersection or crosswalk.
- More drivers are driving heavier vehicles, such as SUVs. When a driver is behind the wheel of a larger, heavier vehicle, it is traveling with more force. When a crash happens with a pedestrian, the pedestrian is hit with that increased force, often resulting in grave injuries or death.
- Drivers are traveling at higher speeds, which increases the force at which vehicles strike someone in an accident.
How to avoid a pedestrian accident
Drivers and pedestrians both can do more to prevent serious accidents. For drivers, they can:
- Avoid using their cellphone behind the wheel.
- Avoid drunk driving.
- Slow down, especially near intersections and crosswalks where pedestrians might be.
- Stay alert at all times, looking for pedestrians in neighborhoods or shopping areas.
For pedestrians, they always should practice the following safety tips:
- Wear bright clothing, especially early in the morning or at dusk so drivers can see you.
- Always cross at an intersection or crosswalk, following traffic signals that allow pedestrians to cross.
- Never cross the road while also using your phone or listening to loud music. You want to be able to pay attention to your surroundings.
- Try to make eye contact with approaching drivers before crossing, so you know they see you.
No one wants to cause a deadly accident. By keeping your eyes on your surroundings, whether you are a pedestrian or driver, you are more likely to avoid an accident and get to your destination safely.