What Are the Top Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?

by Terry Bryant

Every 90 minutes, a pedestrian in the U.S. is killed in a crash. In Texas, pedestrians are at an even greater risk of being injured by a vehicle. What are the top causes of pedestrian accidents, and what can we do to make everyone on our roads as safe as possible? These are vital questions to ask to address our problems.

Pedestrian deaths hit a 30-year high in 2018, and Texas was one of the states with the highest numbers of these fatalities. Examining the causes of this increase means looking at many factors, including the actions of drivers, the actions of pedestrians, and the lack of proper sidewalks or street crossings.

So, what are the top causes of pedestrian accidents?

  • Careless driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Impaired driving
  • Poorly lit crossings
  • Lack of sidewalks
  • Impaired pedestrians
  • Lack of reflective or brightly colored clothing.

Some of these causes stem from driver error, some from pedestrian error, and some from infrastructure-related problems. We all play a role in making our roads as safe as possible for pedestrians, and that requires understanding how these crashes occur.

Let’s look more closely at each of these causes to better understand how pedestrian accidents happen.

What Are the Top Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?

Human error is responsible for most pedestrian accidents. But within that broad category, there are several specific causes of pedestrian injuries and deaths that require closer examination. Here are some of the most common reasons pedestrians are injured…

Careless Driving

Careless driving is a broad term that includes any type of negligent behavior. This could mean that a driver is speeding, running red lights, not looking both ways before turning, or doing anything else that could endanger the safety of nearby pedestrians.

Distracted Driving

The rise in the popularity of mobile devices has created many problems on our roads. Drivers who are distracted by smartphones are far more likely to injure pedestrians.

Drowsy Driving

Drowsy drivers are less alert than their fully awake counterparts. Driving at night and driver fatigue are closely linked, which means that a sleepy driver might be less likely to see a pedestrian due to low visibility.

Impaired Driving

Drunk drivers are less responsive than sober drivers. They are more likely to strike pedestrians, largely because their senses are slower and they are more likely to engage in dangerous behaviors.

Poorly Lit Crossings

Crosswalks should always be well-lit and clearly identified. In cities with high volumes of traffic but poor pedestrian infrastructure, pedestrian accidents are far more likely to occur.

Lack of Sidewalks

Without sidewalks, pedestrians are forced to walk on the side of the road or the road itself. Areas without sidewalks are also often poorly lit. Drivers always have a responsibility to look out for pedestrians, though they are less likely to expect them when there are no nearby sidewalks.

Impaired Pedestrians

Intoxicated pedestrians are more likely to be injured in a crash than sober pedestrians. One-third of all fatal pedestrian accidents involve a pedestrian with a BAC level of at least 0.08%.

Lack of Reflective or Brightly Colored Clothing

When walking at night, pedestrians won’t be seen by drivers if they aren’t wearing reflective clothing or brightly colored clothes. Lack of visibility is one of the primary causes of pedestrian accidents.

These are just a few of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents, but the list of reasons why pedestrians are injured is as long as one’s imagination. Pedestrians are hurt for countless reasons, though these crashes usually involve human error, inadequate infrastructure, or both.

Now that we’ve identified the causes of pedestrian accidents, let’s look at a few ways to make sure that drivers and pedestrians do their part to avoid these kinds of crashes.

Tips to Avoid a Pedestrian Accident

Pedestrians can take a few precautionary measures to avoid being struck by a vehicle. These measures include…

  • Staying on designated sidewalks and crossings where possible
  • Wearing brightly colored or reflective materials when walking at night
  • Carrying a flashlight when walking at night
  • Avoiding walking in heavily trafficked areas after drinking alcohol
  • Looking both ways before crossing the street, even if you believe a driver has seen you
  • Never assuming that a driver has seen you.

Drivers should always assume that pedestrians are nearby. They have a responsibility to share the road safely with pedestrians. This means…

  • Driving slowly in areas heavily trafficked by pedestrians
  • Always signaling intentions to turn
  • Giving pedestrians adequate space when walking alongside or crossing the road
  • Making sure your headlights and turn signals are working properly
  • Being extra cautious in school zones
  • Always following the posted speed limit
  • Never assuming a pedestrian has seen you coming.

Safe driving means remembering the fundamentals. Always keep in mind that others depend on your actions, and you have a special obligation to keep them as safe as possible.

If You’re Injured in a Pedestrian Accident in Houston, Contact Terry Bryant Today

Though we can all take the appropriate measures to avoid a pedestrian accident, we have no control over the actions of others. Houston is one of the most notorious cities in the U.S. when it comes to pedestrian injuries and deaths. At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we believe that holding negligent drivers is one of the most powerful ways to make our city’s streets safer.

Pedestrian injuries are some of the most serious imaginable. Injured pedestrians often require a great deal of medical treatment and time away from work. These costs add up. If a careless driver was responsible for a pedestrian accident, they should be made to pay for the harm they’ve caused. A pedestrian accident lawyer can help you recover the costs you face because of a careless driver’s actions.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian collision, we encourage you to contact our pedestrian accident attorneys to learn more about your legal options. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation: call 713-973-8888 or toll-free 1-800-444-5000.