Now that more people are going out for walks, bicycle rides, and other leisure outdoor activities, people should still take into consideration the potential for injury when applicable. We hear plenty about the different dangers of driving, but you rarely hear about the different dangers that affect pedestrians. Based on some statistics from the CDC, here are some of the biggest risk factors for pedestrian injury.
Who is most at risk?
We hear in the news about drunk driving and how dangerous it can be, but you rarely hear about how dangerous drunk walking can be. The CDC reports, “One in every three (33%) fatal pedestrian crashes involved a pedestrian with a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.08 grams per deciliter.” It is well known that driving while under the influence of any substance is extremely dangerous, but you rarely hear about the dangers of walking or riding a bicycle while under the influence. Being intoxicated as a pedestrian is significantly more dangerous than not being intoxicated.
The CDC also states that children and people over 65 are at higher risk for pedestrian injury. This may be due to several factors, which can include distraction and lack of diligence. Walking in high vehicle traffic areas like cities can be dangerous. Being distracted in these environments can be dangerous, and should be avoided.
How can you reduce your risk?
Avoid distraction – it is remarkably easy to be distracted today. One of the easiest ways to ensure you are being present and aware is to avoid using your phone while you are walking or riding your bicycle. Although it may not be as dangerous as driving while looking at your phone, the same principle applies – if you are looking at your phone, those are seconds that you are not looking at the environment around you. You may look one second and see that there are no cars, look down at your phone, and miss that a speeding car is about to run the red light and strike you while you walk across the street.
Avoid walking at night – sometimes you cannot avoid walking at night, but if you can, it is an easy way to reduce your risk of injury as a pedestrian. Drivers may not expect people to be walking around at night, or will simply be unable to see a pedestrian due to low visibility.
Wear protective clothing – Another way to reduce your risk is to wear reflective clothing or clothing with flashing lights that will alert drivers to your presence. It may feel weird or embarrassing, but wearing flashy clothing will give drivers a better chance of seeing you, and avoiding hitting you.
Use crosswalks – using designated crossing areas is critical. You may think you can make it, but a distracted driver is unpredictable. Your safety is more important than reaching your destination a few minutes or seconds sooner. While using crosswalks, you should still be aware of vehicles around you, as they may be distracted or intoxicated and disregard lights or signs to stop for pedestrians.
For more information about ways to stay safe as a pedestrian, you can access the CDC post HERE. If you have questions about an injury you or someone you know has sustained, please do not hesitate to call us at (404) 948-3571.