By Andrew R. Bronsnick
School is in session across the country. That means more drivers and pedestrians of all ages are on the road and on the sidewalks. With more students, parents and commuters out and about, there can be an increase of fatal pedestrian accidents in New Jersey.
Pedestrian injuries can be extremely severe. Whether you are strolling near your home, crossing a major roadway or in a busy parking lot, dangerous and distracted drivers are probably on the road. Additionally, the roads themselves may be unsafe – potholes and hazardous street conditions can also cause harm to pedestrians. There is also the chance that drivers will not see you while you are exercising—walking, running or bicycling.
There have been a staggering number of auto and pedestrian accidents in New Jersey. According to the New Jersey State Patrol, 372 accidents have occurred thus far this year as of October 1, and have caused 398 fatalities. That means at least one person has lost their life each day in the Garden State. Many of these accidents are preventable.
COMMON PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENT CAUSES
- Distracted, Reckless, Impaired or Careless Drivers
- Road Hazards
- Vehicle Failures
- Walking In Blind Spots or No-Zones
- Utility Hazards and Failures
- Potholes and Cracked Streets/Sidewalks
- Walking or Bicycling While Impaired
Whether you’re behind the wheel or walking along the sidewalk, there are steps that adults and children can take to mitigate the risk of fatal pedestrian accidents in New Jersey.
TIPS TO AVOID PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS
- Always cross at corners, within marked crosswalks where available. And never cross between parked cars.
- If crossing in other locations, yield the right of way to vehicles. Failure to obey the law carries a fine.
- Watch for turning cars.
- Walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk available, walk as far off the roadway as possible.
- Obey traffic signals.
- Don’t assume that cars will stop at intersections. Make eye contact with the driver to make sure they see you.
- Don’t talk on a cell phone or wear earphones when crossing the street.
- Wear bright or reflective clothing or shoes when walking at night.
- Stay sober. Walking while impaired greatly increases your chances of being struck. Take a cab, bus or use a designated driver to get home safe.
- Supervise and teach your children about safe walking. Remember that children under the age of nine often lack the judgment to make safe choices when dealing with traffic. Their size also makes them difficult to see.
Your safety hangs in the balance from the moment you walk outside and Autumn marks a time when children are still outside after school – often in the streets. Safe driving and walking practices may be life-saving at this time of year and will help avoid time in the hospital or on the phone with your insurance agent.
With New Jersey being the most densely populated state in the country, pedestrians and motorists need to exercise caution and courtesy when sharing the roadways.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a pedestrian accident in New Jersey, you need an experienced lawyer to communicate with the insurance companies, investigate the cause of the incident, obtain videos, identify witnesses, prove who was at fault and properly evaluate and present your injuries to ensure you receive maximum compensation.