Last night, a pedestrian was killed after he was hit by an SUV while he was crossing Florida Blvd near Wooddale Drive.
Unfortunately, the risk of deadly pedestrian-car crashes in Louisiana is much higher than many other states. In January, a report from the Center for Planning Excellence revealed that our state has the third-highest pedestrian fatality rate in the nation.
You can reduce your risk of causing a pedestrian accident or being the victim of one by reviewing the common causes of accidents, statistics on at-risk populations and applying some practical safety tips.
Pedestrians Who are the Most at Risk for Injury
Some people are more at risk for being injured or killed in a pedestrian accident, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Men are more likely than women to suffer an injury in a pedestrian versus car accident
- Pedestrians between the ages of 15 and 29 are more likely than pedestrians in any other age group to suffer injuries that require treatment in an emergency room
- The pedestrian death rate increases with age, meaning that elderly pedestrians have a particularly high risk
- In 2013, almost 35 percent of all pedestrians involved in fatal accidents were legally drunk
- One in five people who die in pedestrian accidents are children 14 years old or younger
What Causes Pedestrian Accidents?
Unfortunately, a lot of pedestrian accidents are caused by driver error and could have been prevented. Common driver errors that lead to pedestrian crashes include:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving, including talking or texting on a cellphone
- Failing to stop at stop signs
- Failing to stop at crosswalks
- Disobeying traffic laws
What Can Drivers Do to Lower the Risk of a Crash?
Drivers should always be focused on the road, no matter the situation. However, there are certain times when drivers need to pay extra attention to avoid a pedestrian accident, such as:
- Parking lots
- School Zones
Other tips for drivers on avoiding pedestrian crashes include:
- Always yield to pedestrians – This includes times when pedestrians are not using a crosswalk to cross the street.
- Avoid distracted driving – This means not looking at your phone or doing other things that take your eyes, ears, mind or hands off the task of driving, such as changing your music, using a GPS system or changing other settings on your dashboard.
- Drive at an appropriate speed – This means slowing down when it is raining or there is some other type of inclement weather.
- Check your mirrors often when backing up – Whenever you are backing out of a parking spot, look left and right and proceed slowly. Keep checking your mirrors and looking behind you to make sure a pedestrian is not approaching or nearby.
- Watch for pedestrians when turning – This is particularly important when making a right turn at a green light because there might be people crossing the street.
- Do not stop in the middle of a crosswalk – This forces pedestrians to walk around your car, which puts them at increased risk of an accident.
What Can Pedestrians do to Stay Safe?
There are a lot of things that pedestrians can do to make themselves more visible to drivers and keep themselves out of harm’s way, including:
- Using sidewalks whenever they are available
- Crossing the street only at intersections and marked crosswalks
- If you are walking on a road without a sidewalk or crosswalk, make sure you are facing traffic
- Wear bright or reflective clothing, particularly at night, to make yourself more visible to drivers
- Never cross the street when the crosswalk signal says “Do Not Walk”
- Never run into the street
- Look both ways when crossing the street
- Never assume that a car is traveling slowly enough for you to cross in front of it without a collision
- Watch traffic as you cross the street
- Avoid walking alone if you are drunk or have been drinking
- Try to make eye contact with drivers and look for some type of acknowledgment that they see you
- If you are with your children, hold their hands when crossing the street
If you were seriously injured or had a loved one die in a pedestrian crash, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit with the help of an auto accident lawyer.
The skilled Baton Rouge personal injury attorneys at Simien & Simien can guide you through the legal process and build a strong case that gives you a good chance of recovering compensation for damages.
Call us today at (800) 374-8422 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form.