Pedestrian accidents are a serious and unfortunately common occurrence on our roads. Every year, hundreds of pedestrians are involved in accidents involving cars and other vehicles in Canada. Ontario alone averages over a hundred deaths a year. In 2020, 116 pedestrian related fatalities were recorded because of accidents, making it one of the top reasons for road fatalities. These accidents can have devastating consequences for both the pedestrian and the driver involved but can often be avoided with proper precautions and awareness.
One of the main causes of pedestrian accidents is distracted driving. Drivers who are texting, eating, or otherwise not paying attention to the road are much more likely to hit a pedestrian, especially if the pedestrian is crossing the road in an unexpected or unsafe place. Pedestrians can also be distracted, whether by their phones or other distractions, which can also contribute to accidents. It only takes a few seconds of looking away for a car to travel significant distances. Drivers who do not focus on the road in front of them run the risk of getting involved in a pedestrian-related accident if they are not aware of their surroundings.
To reduce the risk of pedestrian accidents, it’s important for both drivers and pedestrians to be aware of their surroundings and to follow traffic laws. Drivers should always be on the lookout for pedestrians, especially in areas with high pedestrian traffic, and should slow down or come to a complete stop if necessary. Pedestrians should use designated crosswalks or intersections whenever possible and make sure to look both ways before crossing the road.
Another common cause of pedestrian accidents is drunk or impaired driving. When a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, their ability to safely operate a vehicle is significantly impaired. They may have difficulty staying in their lane, reacting to traffic signals, or paying attention to pedestrians. Overall, this increases the chances for mistakes that could result in a pedestrian-related accident.
To reduce the risk of pedestrian accidents involving drunk or impaired driving, it’s important for both drivers and pedestrians to be aware of the dangers of drinking and driving. Drivers should never get behind the wheel if they have been drinking and should also be aware of the effects of prescription and over-the-counter medications that may impair their ability to drive safely. Pedestrians should also be aware of the risks of walking near or on the road while under the influence, as their judgement and coordination may also be dull.
In addition to distracted and impaired driving, pedestrian accidents can also be caused by speeding. When a driver is going too fast, they may not have enough time to react to pedestrians or other hazards on the road. This can lead to serious accidents and injuries,
especially if the pedestrian is hit at high speeds. To reduce the risk of pedestrian accidents caused by speeding, drivers should always observe the posted speed limits in designated areas and adjust their speed as necessary based on the conditions of the road.
Another factor that can contribute to pedestrian accidents is poor visibility. This can be caused by poor lighting, harsh weather, or other factors that make it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians. To reduce the risk of pedestrian accidents in these situations, drivers should use their headlights and other lights as needed be. It is extremely important to stay vigilant when driving in areas with poor lighting or adverse weather conditions. Pedestrians should also take the necessary steps to increase their visibility, such as wearing bright or reflective clothing and carrying a flashlight or other light sources when walking in areas with low visibility.
Finally, pedestrian accidents can also be caused by reckless or aggressive driving behaviors. These may include tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, or making sudden lane changes. To reduce the risk of pedestrian accidents caused by reckless or aggressive driving, drivers should always stay calm and focused on the road. Moreover, drivers should avoid engaging in behaviors that could put themselves or others at risk.
There are several steps both pedestrians and drivers can take to reduce the risk of pedestrian accidents. For pedestrians: always use crosswalks and follow designated traffic signals when crossing the street, look both ways before crossing the street even if you have the right of way, wear bright or reflective clothing when walking at night, stay alert and avoid distractions like listening to music or looking at your phone while walking, and stay in well-lit areas, avoiding walking alone at night. For drivers: always yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and follow traffic signals; slow down when driving in areas with pedestrians, such as school zones or
neighborhoods; keep a lookout for pedestrians, especially when turning or changing lanes; avoid distraction while driving, such as using your phone or eating; and never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
In addition to these precautions, there are also several technological advancements that can help reduce the risk of pedestrian accidents. For example, some vehicles possess automatic emergency braking systems that can help prevent accidents by automatically applying the brakes if a pedestrian is detected in the vehicle’s path. There is also a growing movement towards the development of “smart cities,” which use technology to improve safety and reduce accidents. This includes things like traffic calming
measures, such as speed bumps and roundabouts, as well as advanced traffic control systems that can detect and respond to pedestrian movements and change areas where speeding is prevalent.
In conclusion, pedestrian accidents are a serious and unfortunately common occurrence on our roads. To reduce the risk of these accidents, it’s important for both drivers and pedestrians to be aware of their surroundings and to follow traffic laws. Drivers should always be on the lookout for pedestrians, especially in areas with a high pedestrian traffic. By taking the necessary steps to increase awareness and improve safety measures, both pedestrians and drivers can help reduce the risk of accidents and save lives.