Four thousand and ninety-two people lost their lives to pedestrian accidents in 2009. An additional 59,000 pedestrians were injured. Almost three-quarters of these accidents took place in urban areas, and Atlanta is near the top of the list. Nationwide, Atlanta ranks tenth for pedestrian accidents.
Some pedestrian accidents occur because of poor road design; others occur because of poor driver decisions or poor pedestrian decisions. A surprising number of Atlanta pedestrian accidents occur on crosswalks.
Pedestrians often think that a crosswalk offers them almost magical protection from cars. While pedestrians in crosswalks do have the legal right of way, there are no guarantees of safety – especially if the driver is distracted, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or just reckless. Safety in a crosswalk depends on both the alertness of drivers and the watchfulness of pedestrians.
Common causes of crosswalk accidents:
• A driver fails to notice the pedestrian crossing the street
• A vehicle is traveling at a high rate of speed and although the driver sees the pedestrian, he cannot stop in time to avoid a collision
• Distracted driving
• Drunk driving, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
• A driver does not allow adequate braking distance, or braking distance is inadequate due to bad weather or poor road conditions
• Crossing signals fail to alert the pedestrians or driver
• Cars are involved in an accident near a crosswalk
Pedestrians can take steps to prevent Atlanta crosswalk accidents. Here is a list of tips to help keep you safe while crossing the street.
1. First of all, pay attention. Don’t blindly assume that having the walk light means you are safe. Look both ways before crossing and watch traffic while crossing.
2. Avoid distractions. Don’t text or use your cell phone while crossing the street. Putting your conversation on hold or waiting for a few seconds to reply to that text may save your life.
3. Don’t abruptly change direction. Drivers may not notice the change and will think you’ve finished crossing the street.
Pedestrians who survive crosswalk accidents are often left with life-changing injuries and high medical bills. Many accident victims are entitled to compensation for their injuries, lost income, pain and suffering, and related expenses. An experienced Georgia pedestrian accident attorney can help. To learn more about your rights after an Atlanta pedestrian accident, contact Shane Smith Law at (980) 246-2656.
Learn more about Georgia motor vehicle accident claims; download a free copy of Atlanta accident attorney Shane Smith’s book: ”10 Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Georgia Wreck Case.”