Pedestrian accidents are some of the most devastating types of collisions. They are often catastrophic or fatal for pedestrians, as the human body cannot withstand the impact of a large and heavy motor vehicle. In 2020, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles reported 717 pedestrian deaths due to traffic accidents. If you walk or jog often in Texas, it is imperative to protect yourself by recognizing and avoiding the most common causes of pedestrian collisions.
Distracted driving took a total of 3,142 lives in 2019, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It is a driver’s responsibility to dedicate 100 percent of his or her attention to the task at hand when driving. Unfortunately, many drivers believe that they can multitask behind the wheel, such as by texting and driving. This dramatically increases the risk of the driver failing to notice a pedestrian crossing the road. Other common causes of driver distraction are food and drinks, chatting with passengers, reading or looking at maps, changing the radio station, and rubbernecking.
Speeding or Reckless Driving
It is also a driver’s responsibility to drive at a reasonable and prudent speed based on the circumstances. This speed might be the posted speed limit, but it could also be less than the speed limit in dangerous conditions, such as rain or fog. It is especially important for drivers to slow down in residential areas and school zones – two areas with high pedestrian traffic volume. Drivers should be ready to hit the brakes at any given moment for crossing pedestrians or children running out into the road. Speeding and other examples of reckless driving, such as unsafe passing, increase the risk of a driver striking a pedestrian.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is another common hazard that pedestrians and bicyclists face in Texas. Although driving drunk is against the law in all 50 states, thousands of drivers do it every year. According to Texas crash statistics, 958 people were killed in accidents involving a driver who was under the influence of alcohol in 2020. Many of these accidents involved vulnerable pedestrians and cyclists.
A right-of-way is a legal right to proceed across a crosswalk or roadway. Despite popular belief, pedestrians in Texas do not always have the right-of-way. Instead, they must yield to vehicle traffic at intersections with traffic control signals when the signal says, “Wait” or “Don’t Walk.” At unmarked intersections and crosswalks, however, pedestrians always have the right-of-way. If a driver unintentionally or deliberately ignores a pedestrian’s right to cross, he or she may make an illegal move and strike a crossing pedestrian.
Sometimes, it is not human error that causes a pedestrian accident, but bad weather. Walking in low visibility conditions, such as rain, can increase the risk of a motor vehicle driver failing to see a pedestrian who is crossing the road or walking alongside the street. The fault for this type of accident will depend on the circumstances, such as if the driver should have been using his or her headlights or windshield wipers to improve visibility, or if the pedestrian was walking in the wrong place.
Tips for Avoiding a Pedestrian Accident in San Antonio
Follow all of Texas’ pedestrian laws to better protect yourself from getting into a collision as you walk or jog through San Antonio. This includes using sidewalks when available, waiting your turn to cross at intersections, obeying pedestrian traffic control signals and using crosswalks instead of jaywalking. You can further decrease your risk of getting hit by a car by wearing brightly colored clothes, avoiding walking at night, and not walking while distracted or listening to headphones.
If you do get hit by a car as a pedestrian in Texas, contact a San Antonio injury lawyer right away to discuss your legal rights. The driver may owe you financial compensation for your injuries and losses.