Category Archives: Accidents

Pedestrian Safety Tips

Every day in the United States, an estimated 445 pedestrians seek emergency treatment for traffic-related injuries. In 2013, the most recent year data is available, there were 4,735 pedestrian fatalities and another 66,000 injuries. That’s about one pedestrian death every two hours, and one injury every eight minutes. If you are one of the tens of thousands of pedestrians injured every year as a result of a vehicle-related accident, there are critical steps you should take directly after the event that will help ensure your rights. But, avoiding an accident in the first place should be your focus. Here are some easy-to-follow tips on how to stay safe as a pedestrian.

Never Assume

Just because someone is driving a vehicle doesn’t mean he is paying close attention to the road. Distracted driving habits, including eating and cell phone use, lead to more than 3,300 fatalities a year, many of which involve pedestrians. Other factors, including vehicle blind spots and driver drowsiness, can also play a role in pedestrian-related accidents.

Instead of assuming that a driver can see you, make sure the road is clear before attempting to cross the street. If you’re in a particularly busy area, and waiting for traffic to clear isn’t plausible, make eye contact with any driver in your proximity before crossing the street, even when you have the right of way and are using a crosswalk.

Distracted Walking

Drivers are not the only people who can be distracted when they’re on the go. Pedestrians can be just as easily distracted. When you’re reading a text message, playing a game, or are otherwise engaged with your mobile device, you aren’t paying attention to your surroundings, and just as with a distracted driver, the results can be disastrous. When you are walking, put away your cell phone or tablet. If you must reply to a text, step to the side, out of the way of others, and then respond.

Follow the Law

Jaywalking is not only illegal, but it can be fatal. In fact, pedestrian noncompliance is the leading cause of injuries and fatalities. In 2013, 69% of all pedestrian fatalities occurred at non-intersections compared to 20% of fatalities occurring in an intersection, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The balance of the fatalities occurred in parking lanes, driveways, roadsides, and other locations. When you need to cross the street, use the crosswalk, and never cross against the light.

Special Circumstances

The sidewalk is the safest place for pedestrians. Occasionally, however, you may find yourself in a situation where you have to walk somewhere, but no sidewalk is available. In that instance, walk as far onto the shoulder of the road as possible, and always walk facing traffic. If your back is to traffic, you won’t be able to see oncoming dangers, and you’ll be unable to avoid them.

If you’re walking at night, it is imperative that you wear light, bright, or reflective clothing, and carry a flashlight, even if you plan on staying on the sidewalk. At some point, you may have to cross the street, and if drivers cannot see you, they won’t be able to avoid you.

Pedestrian safety requires vigilance on the part of both the driver and the pedestrian. When you head out for a walk, always follow traffic laws, make sure drivers can see you, and pay attention to your surroundings. When you follow those simple tips, you’ll be increasing the odds that you will reach your destination safely.

deadly crashes

Driving Safely: What to Do in Case of a Car Accident

In 2013, the most recent year for which complete statistics are available, 2.3 million people in the United States were injured as a result of car accidents, and another 32,719 were killed. The leading cause of those accidents was driver error, which can include everything from speeding to unsafe lane changes and distracted driving. Regardless of the reason for a car accident, though, it is a traumatic experience that is often exacerbated when emotions are allowed to take control. However, by remaining calm, pulling to the side of the road, and taking the appropriate steps directly after impact, further injury or loss can be prevented, and you can help expedite the investigation and insurance claim. That way, you can get back to life as you know it that much sooner.

Assess Injuries and Danger

Immediately after the accident, it is critical that you move your car off the road, if possible. Sometimes a vehicle is rendered immobile after a car accident, and if that’s the case use discretion about whether or not to exit the vehicle. If the surrounding traffic makes it too dangerous to get out of the car, remain inside with your seatbelt still fastened. Call 911 for immediate assistance.

If you are able to safely exit the vehicle, and the situation allows for it, do a quick assessment of both your passengers and the passengers in the other vehicle(s). If immediate first aid is required, assist with what you can, but do not attempt to extract injured people, as it may worsen the injuries. The exception to the rule would be if there are liquids leaking from the vehicle, or there is smoke or fire. In such extreme circumstances, use discretion when deciding how much assistance you can safely offer. Once an initial assessment has been made to determine whether or not there are life-threatening injuries or a life threatening situation, move to the side of the road and call 911 if you haven’t already done so.

Take Pictures

Depending on the circumstances in which you find yourself, you may or may not be able to safely take pictures of all involved vehicles. If you can, however, make sure to get shots of the following areas: driver’s and passenger’s sides, front and rear, all corners, and the license plate. In addition, take photos of the surrounding area, including landmarks, buildings, street and traffic signs, accident-related debris, damaged property, and skid marks.

Gather Information

If you and the other driver are able to calmly exchange information, do so. Provide your name, address, telephone number, driver’s license number, vehicle registration, and vehicle insurance information. Ask the other driver for the same set of information. Also jot down the make and model of the other vehicle to go along with your photos. Since emotions will be heightened, it will be easy to forget what information is needed, so keep a checklist in your vehicle at all times.

As soon as is reasonable, contact your insurance company with the details of the accident and forward to your agent all of the information you have, including the photos. A final note about exchanging information: never admit fault during the course of the conversation. Allow the police and insurance companies to make that determination.

The period directly following a car accident can be a time of fear, confusion and uncertainty. However, if you remain calm, keep safety in mind at all times, and document the incident thoroughly, you will save time and frustration, and you will be back on the road before you know it.