Understanding traffic accidents involving pedestrians

Pedestrians are a common sight around Prince Georges County, especially now that summer has arrived. However, many motorists fail to increase their awareness of pedestrians and this can lead to tragic results. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the number of pedestrians injured in 2013 was over 150,000 and the number of pedestrians who lost their lives was 4,735.

The CDC states that children and older adults are the most vulnerable pedestrians. For children under the age of 14 in 2013, traffic accident fatalities numbered at one in every five. During the same year, 10 percent of pedestrian injuries happened to people 65 and older, and fatalities were measured at 19 percent. Not surprisingly, night time, urban localities and drivers going at a higher speed were found to be contributing risk factors.

Pedestrians can be difficult for motorists to spot but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides several safety tips they can follow. For example, obeying traffic laws can reduce a motorist’s chances of hitting a pedestrian. This includes not driving after taking drugs or alcohol, stopping at crosswalks, not passing cars that are stopped at a crosswalk and adhering to speeds in school zones. Additionally, motorists should make it a point to check for pedestrians, regardless of the weather conditions or time of day.

For pedestrians, they can make it easier for motorists to see them by using a flashlight, wearing clothing that reflects light or clothing that is brightly colored. They should never walk on the side of the road where cars are traveling in the same direction, as this can make it impossible for them to be alerted to danger. Instead, they should walk facing oncoming cars, especially if there is no sidewalk. When there are walking paths or sidewalks, it is always best for pedestrians to stay on those as this will place them further away from moving traffic.

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