Top 5 Risky Pedestrian Habits That Cause Accidents

May 18, 2022 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Top 5 Risky Pedestrian Habits That Cause Accidents

Pedestrian Behavior Can Contribute to Serious Accidents

Each year in the U.S., pedestrian accidents account for about 17% of fatalities in car accidents, and 21% of those cases were hit-and-run incidents. These grim statistics show no signs of improvement as more people seek solace from today's chaotic world in the outdoors; unfortunately, this trend was accompanied by a staggering increase in pedestrian accidents in 2020.  According to the National Safety Council, pedestrians are considered Vulnerable Road Users, meaning that they don't have any meaningful form of protection from the elements or other vehicles. They can increase their likelihood of being involved in a pedestrian accident if they behave recklessly, potentially injuring themselves or others. Knowing the most common mistakes pedestrians make can help you and your loved ones avoid a devastating pedestrian accident.

Walking or Jogging with Headphones Increases Pedestrian Accident Risk

As many of us took to the sidewalks to alleviate the stress of the pandemic or improve our physical health, we thought nothing of putting on our favorite motivational music. However, having both of your ears occupied by today's Top 40 prevents you from hearing an approaching car, motorcycle, or truck.  In Florida, headsets are illegal for drivers if they restrict the driver's ability to hear outside noises. Having your hearing engaged in your environment can be even more important for pedestrians, as sound alerts you to the beeping coming from a reversing garbage truck, the sirens of a fast-approaching ambulance, or the engine of the motorcycle about to turn in front of you.

Ignoring Crosswalk Signals or Lines Can Jeopardize Pedestrian Safety

The vast majority of pedestrian accidents occur outside of intersections when people forgo crosswalks or disregard signals. More commonly known as jaywalking, many people think of this as a harmless habit because they rely on their judgment to safely cross the street. However, this fails to account for the judgment of the other road users. Let's say you're walking back from picking up dinner at your favorite take-out place across the street. You know that if you walk all the way up to the crosswalk signal, your food will be cold by the time you get home. To save time, you decide to cross in the middle of the road. You thought you had enough time to make it across before the truck headed towards you got too close, but the driver sped up to make it through the light and was unable to stop.  Now, you're in the hospital with a traumatic brain injury from hitting your head on the ground or a shattered pelvis from the impact of the truck, either of which could have been prevented. 

Pedestrians Walking at Night Without Bright Clothing Are Vulnerable to Injury

Nighttime is overwhelmingly the most dangerous time for pedestrians; over 75% of pedestrian accidents happen after the sun has gone down.  Bright clothes help drivers spot pedestrians, allowing them ample time to stop or react. Drunk, distracted, or drowsy drivers are still a danger to the road on their own, but you want to give drivers every opportunity to see you before they get too close to stop. Although it is still the driver's responsibility to yield the right of way, pedestrians should do everything in their power to be visible to motorists, especially at night. If you've got any neon in your closet, now's the time to break it out.

Distracted Pedestrians Put Themselves and Others at Risk of an Accident

We all know that distracted drivers pose a risk to their fellow motorists and pedestrians alike, but distracted pedestrians can miss important cues, leaving them insufficient time to react. Just like when you're driving, texting, taking a phone call, drinking, adjusting music, or having a conversation with your companion diverts your attention from the traffic around you. If you're busy texting your spouse the grocery list, you could miss the crosswalk signal turning from white to red or cause a car to stop suddenly, resulting in a serious rear-end collision.   Drunk pedestrians also present a hazard to themselves and other road users; their decision-making capacity is impaired, which may cause them to suddenly veer out into the road, ignore crosswalks or signals, or attempt to cross in the middle of traffic. 

Walking or Jogging in the Same Direction as Traffic Increases Risk of Pedestrian Accident

In cases where the sidewalk is damaged, inaccessible, or nonexistent, pedestrians may be forced to use the shoulder of the road. Drivers already won't be expecting a pedestrian in the cramped area along the road, and there's no reason to compound the risk by making yourself less obvious to a driver. From the pedestrian's perspective, you can't accommodate a car that you didn't even know was behind you. Walking or jogging while facing oncoming traffic also gives you the benefit of being about to better judge the speed at which the vehicle is traveling.  This is especially important to pedestrian safety, as the CDC reports that speeding is an exacerbating factor in the rate and severity of pedestrian accidents. 

Who is Liable in a Pedestrian Accident?

Drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists, and pedestrians themselves can be found at fault in a pedestrian accident. In the case of a negligent driver, they will likely receive the lion's share of the blame and subsequently be held liable for damages. However, if a pedestrian behaves recklessly, the driver may claim that they are partially responsible for the accident. Regardless of who is ultimately found liable, pedestrian accidents often cause catastrophic damage to the human body, especially if a head or back injury occurs. These types of injuries can leave you with serious medical expenses and a brutal recovery period with no end in sight. Dolman Law Group has a long track record of helping accident victims recover the compensation they are owed, whether that be in the form of pain and suffering damages, the cost of therapy or medical bills, or lost earning potential from a debilitating injury.

Contact Dolman Law Group for Help With Your Pedestrian Accident

No one wants to think about the possibility of being left severely wounded on the side of the road, but unfortunately, it happens to thousands of people every year. If a negligent driver or motorcyclist has upended your life, you need a trusted advocate to represent you through the claims process.  You can rely on us to conduct a thorough investigation of the accident, collecting the necessary evidence to prove the other party's negligence. Once your claim heads to court, we'll guide you through all the legal jargon and paperwork.  The lawyers of Dolman Law Group know how to negotiate a fair settlement that looks out for your best interest, covering both current and future needs. If you've been injured or lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, we can help you determine if you're eligible for damages. Give us a call any time at (727) 451-6900. You can also send us an email on our contact us page.  


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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