Pedestrians often are not to blame for the crashes that they experience. Frequently, they abide by traffic laws and make safety their top concern, while people in motor vehicles put them at unnecessary risk. They will also bear the brunt of any collision that occurs, as pedestrian crashes rarely cause injury to the people in the motor vehicle, but the pedestrian could easily suffer fatal or life-altering injuries.
Obviously, you cannot control what other people do on public roads, but you do have control over your own behavior. According to a thorough analysis of collisions performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there is one thing that pedestrians can do to significantly reduce their risk of getting struck by a motor vehicle.
They need to avoid digital distraction
Most people readily acknowledge that distracted driving is a dangerous behavior, but fewer people realize that distracted walking could be even riskier. Both looking down at a phone or talking on a phone will result in less safe behaviors.
Additionally, while distraction is one of the most prevalent issues among drivers, it is even worse among pedestrians. Research looking at behavior by both drivers and pedestrians at high-risk intersections in Washington DC showed that pedestrians were 1.5 times as likely to be distracted while walking as drivers were to use their phones while at the wheel.
Is there a safe way to text while walking?
Monitoring traffic lights and crossing at crosswalks may seem like a good option for those only partially monitoring their surroundings, but their risk is still higher than usual.
When crossing at a crosswalk, research shows that texting on a phone is the only high-risk behavior out of 20 evaluated that had a noticeable impact on someone’s safety. All of the data together makes it very clear that you should not pick up your phone when you are out for a walk.
Drivers still have an obligation to be careful
Even when pedestrians make mistakes that contribute to motor vehicle collisions, drivers may still have some liability for the crashes that occur. Those struck while walking may be able to file an insurance claim against the coverage of the driver who hit them. Sometimes, pedestrians will also be able to make claims against their own insurance policy when they carry extra coverage.
Of course, it is better to avoid getting hit in the first place than to file an insurance claim later. Understanding the risks for pedestrian crashes may help you stay safer on your next walk,