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Judge John E. Turner (Ret.)

Common causes of pedestrian accidents

The temperatures are heating up, which means more people are taking to the sidewalks and roadways. If you are among them, it is important to recognize what this influx of foot and road traffic might mean for your safety. Many drivers taking to the streets during the summertime are students with limited driving experience, and this and other factors enhance your risk of injury as a pedestrian.

According to the Traffic Safety Store, more than 70,000 pedestrians suffer injury caused by vehicles each year, and about 4,000 of those pedestrians lose their lives. To reduce your chances of this type of an accident, know that many pedestrian accidents result from:

Alcohol

While you, as a pedestrian, always run the risk of an accident with a drunk driver, many pedestrians are also under the influence, amplifying their risk. In fact, 37 percent of pedestrians who lose their lives in incidents involving cars are also under the influence of alcohol.

Unmarked or poorly marked crosswalks

Even if you only attempt to cross the road in a designated crosswalk, your risk of an injury or fatality climbs if that crosswalk is not particularly noticeable to oncoming motorists. This is particularly true when you are walking in or near parking lots, where drivers focus more on finding parking than looking for foot traffic.

Left-hand turns

As a pedestrian, you are three times more likely to suffer injury because of a driver turning left than you would a driver turning right. Take extra care when crossing or walking near roadways where drivers are attempting left-hand turns.

Improper lane use

Improper lane use is a major cause of pedestrian injuries and fatalities. About two-thirds of all pedestrian accidents take place in the roadway, and not on sidewalks, as pedestrians must sometimes step into the road to avoid bicyclists riding on the sidewalks, parents pushing strollers and similar hazards.

If you suffer a pedestrian injury because of factors beyond your control, you may be able to seek recourse with the aid of an attorney.

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