Because of South Carolina’s moderate weather, pedestrians often are out for a walk, sharing the roads with drivers. Yet while many choose to walk to get additional exercise and improve their health, pedestrians who go beyond using walking paths and sidewalks do face increased risks. In 2019, the number of pedestrians killed in auto accidents reached a 30-year high.

Why pedestrian deaths are on the rise

Since 2009, the number of pedestrians killed in auto accidents has climbed each year. Why has that been the case though? The Federal Highway Administration cites these three factors:

  • More consumers are buying SUVs and small trucks. Heavier vehicles like SUVs and trucks hit pedestrians with more force, causing more serious injuries.
  • More drivers are driving distracted. With more and more motorists having cell phones and in-car technology, more drivers are distracted, causing more serious accidents.
  • The weather has been warmer. Increasing temperatures lead to an increase in the number of pedestrians walking outside and thus increasing the risks of a vehicle-pedestrian crash.

Safety tips for drivers

No driver wants to cause a pedestrian’s serious injuries or cause their death. That’s why drivers should follow these safety tips to avoid a pedestrian accident:

  1. Always keep your eyes on your surroundings, especially looking for pedestrians who may be entering intersections and crosswalks.
  2. Avoid driving distracted and driving drunk.
  3. Slow down. Follow the speed limit, especially in residential areas where pedestrians often are out walking.
  4. Never pass another vehicle stopped in a crosswalk. You may not see pedestrians crossing there.
  5. Be careful as you back out of driveways or cross from an alley to the street. Pedestrians often are in these areas too.

Safety tips for pedestrians

Pedestrians can stay safer by following these safety tips:

  1. Always wear bright, reflective clothing, especially in early morning and early evening hours.
  2. Always cross at marked crosswalks or at intersections.
  3. Obey all traffic signals.
  4. Make eye contact with drivers before you cross, so they know you are entering the road.
  5. Don’t listen to loud music or use your phone when you are in the road. You want to hear what’s going on around you.

If you are a pedestrian who was injured in an accident, you likely face a long recovery. You’ll miss work and rack up expensive medical bills. If you had a family member who died in a pedestrian accident, your family might not only be grieving their loss, but also be struggling to replace your loved one’s income. You should consult a personal injury attorney in these situations to ensure you receive the compensation you and your family deserve.