Facts Behind Pedestrian Accidents: Potential Causes

There are a number of common causes for pedestrian accidents. One major cause is distracted driving accidents. Motor vehicles are dangerous instruments that require the driver to maintain constant awareness of his surroundings. Even an experienced professional driver can find it impossible to react in time to every conceivable situation that may arise. A driver who divides his attention between driving and doing some other task greatly increases the risk of a serious accident. These distractions can be something simple like eatingfood, tuning the radio, or adjusting the air conditioning. Modern technology adds even more distractions, such as operating a GPS unit while driving, using a cell phone without a hands-free device, or even texting.

Alcohol is also a major factor in causing pedestrian accidents. At least 48% of all pedestrian accidents involve a driver or a pedestrian who is under the influence of alcohol. Drinking alcohol reduces reaction time, clouds judgment, and impairs concentration. Another cause of pedestrian accidents is speeding. Driving too fast is always dangerous. A driver can only react so fast and a vehicle can only brake so quickly. Exceeding the speed limit makes it harder to stop in time to avoid a collision. In slippery conditions, excess speed also increases the chances of skidding out of control. Speeding on crowded urban roads where people may step off the curb unexpectedly can also be fatal. Like speeding, generally poor and reckless driving habits put pedestrians at risk. Safety depends in part on being able to predict the actions of others and avoiding the careless behavior of some motorists-like running stop signs, tailgating, failing to signal turns, and improper lane changes.

Weather can also be hazardous. Rain, snow, and fog can reduce visibility, and wet or icy roads can be extremely slippery and dangerous. In such conditions, even the best drivers may have difficulty keeping a vehicle under control. All of these factors are made worse by driving at night, when visibility is reduced even more. Even the most careful driver under the best conditions must be alert at all times when it is dark, and especially when suddenly encountering a pedestrian wearing dark clothing.

Add to these hazards and their causes the laws surrounding pedestrian accidents, and it may not be easy to determine who is legally at fault. Many people think that because they've been struck by a car, they have an open and shut case. Not so. A determination of liability is heavily dependent on the facts involved in each case. Since the driver and pedestrian each have a duty to act "reasonably careful under the circumstances," they may share fault for the cause of an accident. In many cases it may take much more effort, time and expense by the pedestrian victim to recover fair compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages caused by the actions of a careless motorist.
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