Pedestrians are the most vulnerable people on Alabama’s roads, and their lack of protection puts them at an elevated risk of suffering severe and even fatal injuries in a traffic accident. But when discretionary travel increases during the summer months, this can create a spike in these dangerous and deadly incidents.
When the weather warms up, more people make time for vacations, summer get-togethers, road trips, festivals, and outdoor exercising, creating congested and often perilous conditions on the roads. According to a Governors Highway Safety Association report, a pedestrian is killed every hour in an accident, but this rate could increase as much as 10 percent during the summer months.
Common Risks Alabama Pedestrians Face
According to the Alabama Department of Transportation, there were 932 pedestrian-involved accidents in 2016, the highest rate on record. Since 2008, pedestrian fatalities in this state have soared 56.9%. Even though there is a risk to pedestrians on any day and at any time, the danger may be elevated during the summer due to several factors:
- An increase in out-of-state drivers on vacation and overall vehicle traffic, and
- An increase in pedestrian traffic, including more exercisers, tourists, and children playing.
This combination can be a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, drivers cause a majority of pedestrian accidents, and the people not protected by vehicle safety technology are the most vulnerable to harm. Some of the most common driver errors that cause these tragic events include:
- Distracted driving. Alabama has laws that limit the use of electronic devices in vehicles, but distracted driving remains a pervasive issue. Whether a driver ignores the law or is within the law and is still not paying attention to the road, this is a valid concern for pedestrians that can be seriously harmed or even killed.
- Speeding. People tend to be in just as much of a hurry when they are on vacation as when they aren’t. Drivers disregard speed limits and the rules of the road to get to their destination faster, and this puts a greater number of pedestrians outside in danger.
- DUI. Drinking, drugs, and driving don’t mix well together and this is a highly illegal practice. While it’s tempting to relax with a few drinks during the summer, this slows reaction time when driving and increases the risk of hitting another car or pedestrian.
- Inexperienced new drivers. During the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, there are more inexperienced teen drivers on the road who can get into a crash with a pedestrian. AAA reports that the average number of fatal crashes among teens goes up 15% during this period.
Important Safety Reminders for Pedestrians
Everyone is a pedestrian at some point, and you can’t always count on drivers to follow the rules and keep you safe. Being proactive can not only help you avoid injury, but it might also save your life. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, here are a few pedestrian safety tips:
- Avoid wearing dark clothing, particularly at night. Instead, wear bright clothing that helps keep you visible. Use reflective clothing or carry a flashlight after dark.
- Avoid darting unexpectedly into traffic or walking between vehicles. Cross the road only at intersections and preferably using crosswalks.
- Avoid using alcohol and drugs.
- Don’t walk distracted by using a phone or headphones.
- Don’t assume that a driver sees you or is going to obey the rules of the road. Use defensive techniques and stay alert to your surroundings.
- When available, walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the shoulder and face into traffic. Avoid walking on highways or roads that are meant for vehicles only.
Protecting Your Rights After a Pedestrian Accident in Alabama
If you or someone you care about has been the victim of a pedestrian accident in the Mobile area, it’s important to understand that the system is not designed to work in your favor. While you have the right to make a claim for damages against the responsible party, collecting compensation isn’t a simple matter.
Insurance companies are notorious for denying these claims or offering accident victims much less than their case is worth. They may even resort to blaming you for the accident so that you will be barred from recovery, which is why we recommend that you never speak to insurers without sound legal representation in your corner.
At Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C., we are fierce legal advocates for the victims of pedestrian accidents and their loved ones. If this accident wasn’t your fault, we’ll help you hold the responsible parties accountable and fight to collect the compensation you deserve. Contact us now at (251) 260-3815 to schedule a free consultation.