The warm summer weather and the abundance of sights and activities throughout Portland means an overall increase in road traffic. In addition to motor vehicles, greater numbers of pedestrians are likely to be out and about, requiring motorists to use an extra degree of caution. While car accidents can cause serious injuries for drivers and their passengers, pedestrian injuries because of these accidents are more likely to be potentially life threatening or even fatal.
Car Accidents Involving Pedestrians
The latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that roughly 130,000 people suffer severe and potentially life-threatening injuries as the result of motor vehicle accidents each year in the U.S., while these accidents prove fatal for close to 5,400 others. More than one pedestrian death occurs every two hours, and pedestrians in general are 1.5 times more likely to be killed in car crashes than drivers or their passengers.
The CDC reports that these accidents are more likely to occur at night, when crossing streets, and in urban areas, such as on busy streets in downtown Portland. Alcohol use is a factor in nearly half of these accidents, either on the part of the driver or the pedestrian involved. Other contributing causes often include:
- Speeding and driving too fast for conditions;
- Failure to obey traffic or crosswalk signals;
- Running red lights and going through stop signs;
- Driving while distracted, such as using cell phones or texting.
Anything that takes your mind of the road for even a few seconds could make car accidents involving pedestrians more likely. It only takes a minute for a child to chase a ball into the road or for someone to emerge between two parked cars, making it important for drivers to pay attention at all time and to use defensive driving skills.
Defensive Driving Tips To Avoid Pedestrian Accidents
The non-profit group DefensiveDriving.org offers the following tips for drivers on how to prevent pedestrian accidents:
- Realize that as a driver, it is part of your responsibility to keep an eye out for pedestrians.
- Avoid distractions when driving, such as changing GPS settings, taking photos or sending texts, eating, drinking, or any other activity which prevents you from keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.
- Children are at an increased risk for pedestrian accidents, so you extra caution when driving through residential neighborhoods, near schools or playground, or when backing out of parking spaces.
- Never pass a school bus with their lights flashing. Instead, wait for all children to get off and for the bus to resume travel.
- Look in all directions before making a turn, and be aware of crosswalks at intersections.
- Increase your visibility by cleaning your windshield regularly and make sure your headlights are working.
- Avoid drinking and driving, or any other type of reckless driving behavior that puts you and other in danger.
In the event you are injured in a car accident, either as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian, contact the Johnston Law Firm right away. We can arrange a free consultation with our experienced Portland car accident attorney to discuss any compensation you may be entitled to.