How do pedestrians end up with serious injuries, or even lose their lives, in accidents with automobiles? The truth is amazingly simple. Learn what to do to keep yourself, and your family safe.
In light of the data discussed in one of our recent blog posts, which revealed that around half of the world’s annual 70,000 car accident and pedestrian fatalities happen in the US, it’s important to strategize your own safety.
With Texas’ population growth at 1.80%, the third fastest in the country, that means more dangerous drivers on our roads and greater risk to your safety. And then combine this with the DFW Metroplex being the fastest growing metro area in the US, and you have a real recipe for trouble!
While you can’t control what drivers do, you can absolutely control what you do so you nearly eliminate your risk of a serious injury (or even fatality) while you’re a pedestrian.
First Thing’s First: Shedding Light on What Causes These Auto Accidents
Believe it or not, 2004 research by Campbell (et al) found pedestrians at fault in 80% of the fatal accidents.
Holy cow! That’s an incredibly high rate you just don’t see in any statistical data often.
So, that means you have abundant opportunity to protect yourself and avoid serious injury or the loss of your own life.
According to study data cited by Arizona State University, jaywalking (defined as crossing the street illegally in any way), was the top cause of fatal pedestrian accidents.
And specifically, these forms of jaywalking:
- Walking in violation of a crossing signal
- Crossing the street where no crosswalk is present
- When a crosswalk is present, crossing the street outside of the crosswalk
- Ignoring designated pedestrian pathways and walking along a street with the traffic flow
So, there you have it! Pretty simple stuff.
The Real Problem
Human rationalization knows no bounds. Our minds can rationalize just about anything and make it seem okay or harmless.
“It’s no big deal. No cars are coming. I’ll just sneak across the street right here,” you think.
“I’m running late for my appointment. If I cut through here, I’ll be on time and won’t have to wait another 15 to 30 minutes.”
Your mind will come up with any number of rationalizations. And, more often than not, you may follow through on those with no negative consequences at all.
So, that makes it even easier to give in to those rationalizations next time.
The point is this: when you begin to rationalize a behavior and create reasons to make it okay to jaywalk, catch yourself.
Recognize that, even though it’s more than likely that you won’t get hurt jaywalking, your chances of getting hurt skyrocket compared to legally crossing the street (which nearly eliminates your risk).
Will you be late? So what? You’ll live. And you won’t risk serious injury or death.
Finally, I’ll leave you with a few more factors that cause pedestrian injuries one study analyzing 5,073 accidents found:
- Failing to yield (for both drivers and pedestrians)
- Jogging or walking in the wrong direction
- Working on a parked car
- Leaning on a parked car
- Pushing a disabled car
- Standing between parked cars
- Standing in the road
Stay safe out there!
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Shane V. Mullen is an attorney licensed by the State of Texas for the general practice of law, and the Managing Partner at Mullen & Mullen Law Firm in Dallas, TX. His firm focuses exclusively on personal injury law and has been in business for 40 years (since 1983). Before becoming a lawyer, Shane worked for his father as an accident injury claims investigator.