How one’s “route taken” can affect a pedestrian’s risk of injury

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

People typically think of walking or jogging as a form of exercise that does not require much planning or equipment. People can go out wherever they are with nothing more than a pair of supportive shoes and get in their daily steps. Walking is also a free form of transportation. Plenty of people walk to work and even to the store, especially if they live in an urban area.

While walking is healthy and cost-effective, it does put someone at risk. Pedestrians who get struck by motor vehicles can incur life-altering or fatal injuries. The route that a pedestrian takes can directly influence the degree of risk that they must accept.

What factors should people consider when deciding where they walk?

Traffic density

The more Vehicles there are on the road, the more likely someone is to encounter a driver who doesn’t prioritize safety. Particularly busy roads often see drivers acting in aggressive ways, and they may not monitor their surroundings appropriately. Choosing roads with less traffic overall is usually a safer option than walking on or next to the busiest streets in an area.

Speed limits

The most important consideration for pedestrian safety is the speed of traffic where they walk. Higher speed limits have a strong association with more serious injuries and an increased risk of dying in a pedestrian crash. Although rural roads sometimes seem safe because they have wide shoulders and less traffic than many urban roads, their higher speed limits mean that the pedestrian crashes that do occur could very well have much worse consequences than crashes in urban areas.

Crosswalks and lights

Many of the worst pedestrian crashes occur after dark. Once the sun sets, drivers may have a hard time spotting pedestrians unless they wear reflective or illuminated safety gear. Additionally, many drivers don’t actively look for pedestrians. Therefore, they may not notice someone crossing the street at an unmarked location. Choosing a route where someone can stay on sidewalks and cross the actual road at marked crosswalks with traffic lights is usually the safest option.

Pedestrians who understand what factors contribute to their overall collision risk can take steps to protect themselves from an incident that could leave them with permanent injuries or worse. A person walking or jogging may need to take action to hold a driver accountable after a pedestrian crash. Filing an insurance claim or even a personal injury lawsuit could help cover the expenses generated when a driver strikes a pedestrian due to negligence or intentional conduct.