From their earliest lessons about pedestrian safety, people are taught to respect the danger of the road at all times. It doesn’t matter how frequently a child has crossed a certain road or how well they know the neighborhood. They learn early through constant repetition that they should always look both ways before stepping out into the street. Parents drill that rule home because they understand that a human body simply cannot withstand the force of impact when struck by a vehicle, and drivers aren’t as careful as they should be.
Adults can embrace more nuanced rules than children because they understand that the world is not black and white. Yes, being cautious whenever entering the street is smart, but it is also a good decision to embrace harm-reduction tactics. Instead of being constantly vigilant, which leads to burnout, adults can instead focus their efforts on the issues that create the most risk. For pedestrians, there is very clear research indicating when and where they experience the greatest risk of getting hurt.
Where do pedestrian crashes occur?
Quite a few pedestrian collisions occur in parking lots, even though one would think they would be safe with vehicles usually traveling at lower speeds. There are more people in urban centers, so there are crashes. Nationwide, over 83% of pedestrian deaths in 2021 took place in urban settings. The other location factor that matters is where someone crosses the road, over 76% of the reported pedestrian deaths happened somewhere other than an intersection.
When do most pedestrian crashes occur?
Overall, the time someone goes for a walk is a major factor in their degree of risk. Roughly 80% of fatal pedestrian crashes occur after dark or during dusk/dawn. In other words, any time after the sun starts setting or before it is up fully in the morning, pedestrians will be at far more risk of a crash. Those that do go out during variable light or low light times of day might benefit from using illuminated gear and carefully following traffic rules, including using crosswalks whenever possible.
Learning about the factors that cause many deadly pedestrian crashes can help people reduce their personal risk in traffic. Doing so can also help victims to argue that they were not at fault in the event that an accident does occur and cause injury.