Louisiana state law theoretically grants pedestrians the right to share the roads with vehicles. While it is always better to use designated paths and crosswalks whenever possible, people can lawfully walk on any road, provided that they follow appropriate rules.
Unfortunately, pedestrians in close proximity to motor vehicles are at elevated personal risk of a crash. They could end up severely injured through the poor decisions of someone in a motor vehicle. What are two of the major safety issues that pedestrians need to recognize when walking near motor vehicle traffic?
1. Drivers don’t look for pedestrians
The top cause of vehicle collisions with pedestrians is disheartening. Crashes occur because drivers fail to properly look for pedestrians. The way that the brain works when someone drives requires that people actively look for pedestrians, or they may not spot someone directly in front of their vehicle until it is too late to prevent a craft.
Always crossing the road at illuminated locations and trying to give as much space to traffic when traveling on the actual street can help you reduce your risk somewhat. However, you have to remember that drivers may fail to notice you, even if they look at you.
2. Speed influences your risk
Your chances of suffering a catastrophic injury in a crash increase dramatically based on the speed of the vehicle at the time of the collision. At speeds of 23 miles per hour (mph), you have a 25% chance of suffering a severe injury and a 10% risk of dying.
Your injury risk goes up to 50% and your risk of death increases to 25% when the vehicle’s speed is around 30 mph. At 46 mph, the pedestrian has a 90% chance of severe injury. Once the vehicle’s speed reaches 58 mph, the risk of death hits 90%.
While you can’t force people in motor vehicles to make safe choices, you can adjust your own walking habits to account for how someone’s practices might put you at risk. If a crash does occur, you may be able to file an insurance claim or possibly a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who causes the collision.
Learning more about pedestrian crashes can help those who regularly walk stay safer on the streets.