Walking is good exercise and sometimes the best way to get from one place to another. If you are a pedestrian, however, it can also get you severely injured or killed on the busy streets of Delaware. Here's what you should know to protect yourself.
The dangers of walking
The Delaware Office of Highway Safety, through its “Walk Smart. Arrive Alive” awareness program, has identified the three leading causes of pedestrian accidents.
Most pedestrian accidents in Delaware happen during the day (53%), which makes sense because more people are out and about during daylight hours. But 55% of fatal pedestrian accidents happen under dark and unlighted, conditions, with another 27% occurring under dark, lighted conditions. By comparison, just 15% of pedestrian fatalities occur during daylight conditions.
While alcohol was a factor in just 12% of pedestrian accidents, it was present in 53% of pedestrian fatalities. The dangers of drunk driving have been known for years, yet far too many people make the choice to drink and drive. Make sure to always drive sober and never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Pedestrians are susceptible to major injuries in an accident because they have no protection, with the speed of the vehicle that hits them also playing a major role. While 62% of pedestrian accident victims are struck by vehicles traveling 35 mph or less, 86% of fatalities occur when the vehicle is moving faster than 35 mph. As noted by the Office of Highway Safety: "A pedestrian struck by a car going 20 mph has a 5% chance of death. At 40 mph, that rises to 85%.
Advice for pedestrians
The Office for Highway Safety offers these tips for pedestrians to avoid being hit by a car:
- Be a lawful and predictable pedestrian. Cross only at crosswalks or at intersections with signals or traffic signs, where motorists expect to see you.
- Look carefully. Watch in every direction for approaching traffic.
- Avoid distractions. Put away your phone and other handheld devices.
- Walk with awareness. When a sidewalk is not available, walk facing traffic and keep as far away as possible from passing vehicles.
- Practice patience. Wait for vehicles to come to a complete stop before stepping into the crosswalk or street.
- Never assume. Always make eye contact with a driver before entering the street.
- Make yourself visible. Wear bright-colored clothing at night and carry a flashlight so motorists can see you.
- Walk sober. Drunken pedestrians, just like drunken drivers, put themselves in jeopardy because they make alcohol-influenced decisions.
Advice for pedestrian accident victims
People in Delaware should be able to cross the street or walk alongside the road without having to worry about being hit by a car, but as a pedestrian, you can only do so much to protect your own safety.
If you're the victim of a pedestrian accident caused by a careless or negligent motorist, odds are that you are dealing with severe injuries. You might be out of work for an extended period while you recover, meaning you cannot pay your bills.
Under the law, you have the right to be "made whole" by pursuing compensation for your losses. These can include your current and future medical bills, lost income, your pain and suffering, and more (depending on the circumstances of your case).
At the Law Office of Edward C. Gill, P.A., our attorneys can handle the insurance company and protect your legal rights so you can focus your energy on recovering from your injuries.
We know how to build a strong case that the insurance company won't be able to ignore, and we know how to negotiate for a fair financial settlement that covers the true cost of your injury. If that doesn't work, we're not afraid to file a lawsuit on your behalf and take your case to court if that's what it takes to obtain the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today for a free consultation, and learn how an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer in Georgetown, Delaware can help you.