Most pedestrians assume that they are safe when they walk on a sidewalk. Unfortunately this is not the case. There can be unexpected hazards even within a sidewalk. A personal injury lawyer in Chicago will tell you that pedestrians are injured every year because a traffic accident moves from the road to the sidewalk.
Pedestrians often exercise extra caution while crossing the road or walking in the shoulder of the road, however it is common to feel at ease while walking on a sidewalk. While walking you should always watch the vehicles in the road around you and as a driver it is important to be alert and aware of pedestrians at all times while driving.
There are various situations where drivers need to look carefully for pedestrians:
- Crosswalks – Drivers need to yield to pedestrians in a cross walk but sometimes they are distracted and don’t see them.
- Parking Lots – If drivers back out of a parking space without looking closely they may hit a pedestrian.
- Speeding – Drivers often speed. This can be especially dangerous in residential neighborhoods where there are a lot of children at play and people out for a walk.
- Right turn on red – Turning right on a red light is legal in many places however it requires that the driver pay close attention to pedestrians who may be crossing as they turn.
This past April an accident in New York City injured at least 10 people. This three-vehicle accident resulted in one vehicle losing control and crashing into the busy sidewalk.
In another incident in May an 8-year-old boy in Chicago was hurt when a car accident resulted in a vehicle crashing into the sidewalk and hitting the boy. He eventually died from his injuries.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a pedestrian is injured every 8 minutes in the United States. Although it is rare for these accidents to involve pedestrians who are walking on sidewalks it does happen. Common injuries from pedestrian accidents include:
These injuries can require various treatments including surgery and it can leave the injured person out of work, and with a pile of medical bills. A pedestrian accident can be life altering.
It is important that pedestrians do their part to avoid being involved in an accident. Talking on a cell phone or wearing earplugs while listening to music is distracting and lowers your reaction time. In order to be as safe as possible while walking avoid all distractions and focus on where you are going and the cars around you.
Image courtesy of Orin Zebest.