Four tips to avoid pedestrian accidents on West Virginia roads

Pedestrian-involved accidents may result in serious injuries or death, but people may improve their safety by taking certain precautions.

Walkers, joggers, workers and others regularly share the roads throughout West Virginia with motor vehicles. Unfortunately, collisions involving automobiles and pedestrians are all too common. Without any exterior protection from the vehicles, people may suffer serious injuries or death as a result of such accidents. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that an average of one pedestrian was injured every 7.5 minutes and killed every 1.6 hours in 2015. Although people cannot avoid all pedestrian accidents, there are steps they can take to help improve their safety when out walking.

Be visible

Collisions involving motor vehicles and pedestrians often occur because drivers do not see the walkers. Thus, it may benefit people who are planning to walk to wear brightly colored clothing during the day. At night, pedestrians are advised to use a flashlight or wear reflective clothing. This may help improve their visibility to motorists and reduce their risk of being struck by a vehicle.

Stay alert

It is not uncommon to see people walking down the road with ear buds in or looking down at their phones. While listening to some tunes or other such actions may help pass the time, they can create potentially serious distractions. Unable to hear or not seeing situations developing on the road, pedestrians may not notice or have time to evade such hazards. Therefore, walkers, like drivers, are advised to avoid distracting behaviors and stay focused on what is going on around them when they are on the roads.

Obey traffic signals

By law, pedestrians are required to follow the traffic-control signals and signs. Just as drivers expect other motorists to act in accordance with such signals, they also anticipate what walkers will do based on them. Thus, pedestrians should take care when on the road to ensure they are obeying the signs as this may help them prevent some serious accidents, as well as the potential for being stopped by law enforcement.

Use designated pedestrian areas

People would not expect to see a car driving on a walking path, much as drivers do not expect to see pedestrians in the traffic lanes. Staying on walkways and sidewalks may provide some helpful space between walkers and the vehicles on the road, as well as ensure motorists know where to look for them. In areas where there are not sidewalks, people are advised to walk facing traffic and to move as far away from it as they are able.

Working with a lawyer

When pedestrians in West Virginia are struck by motor vehicles, the effects may be devastating for them and their families. As a result of serious injuries suffered in such crashes, people may also incur undue medical debt and lose income. Under some circumstances, though, the drivers responsible for pedestrian collisions may be held financially responsible. Therefore, people who have suffered injuries due to accidents while out walking or jogging may find it helpful to seek legal counsel. In addition to helping them understand their rights and options for pursuing compensation, an attorney may guide them through the legal process.