As the weather warms up it becomes a little more pleasant to spend time outside and shake off winter’s chill. Many of us enjoy a nice stroll around town in the sunshine. We can spend time walking through Salt Lake, enjoying the historic buildings and great shopping centers. Or we can wander around a few of the historic sites in the valley. While there are lots of things to see and do on foot, safety is another thing we should consider as the season changes.
Pedestrian accidents increase dramatically in fair weather. In 2011, about 88 percent of pedestrian accident fatalities occurred when the weather was either clear or cloudy, as opposed to rain (9%) or snow (1%). Additionally, 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities happened in daylight hours, between the hours of 6 am and 6 pm.
Pedestrian deaths are also more likely to occur on the weekend. Almost 50 percent of pedestrian deaths happen on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
These are pretty sobering facts.
It’s important to remind ourselves of these statistics because they tell us accidents are not disconnected from our lives. Accidents could happen to any of us, and it helps to know when and where these are most likely to occur. Walking to work, spending time downtown, shopping in busy areas are all great activities. But we should be sure to take the proper precautions to stay safe while doing them.
In most situations, pedestrians often have the right-of-way. It’s a driver’s job to watch for you. However, accidents can still happen. Though you as a pedestrian may have the right-of-way, it is still important to be cautious. Laws about pedestrian safety offer some protection but little consolation if an accident occurs because the driver wasn’t paying attention.
Be safe. Follow all the laws. Use designated crosswalks. When crossing, use the orange flags available at many downtown crosswalks. Even if it is your turn to cross the road, look both ways. Nothing waiting on the other side of the road is so important to risk your life.
Don’t Drink and Walk
Another safety concern comes around holiday celebrations. Today is St. Patrick’s Day and many people go out to bars to enjoy one another’s company and maybe even a few alcoholic beverages. Of course it would be irresponsible to drive after drinking, so many people decide to walk. But know that even walking poses its own dangers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),
“Alcohol involvement — for driver or pedestrian — was reported in nearly half of all traffic crashes resulting in pedestrian deaths. And in one-third of pedestrian fatalities, the pedestrian was intoxicated.”
The NHTSA also found that alcohol-related crashes claimed a life every 51 minutes on St. Patrick’s Day in 2010. This accounts for 32% of all fatalities that occurred that day.
The best and safest thing you can do is be responsible. Call for a ride. Get a designated driver.
At Christensen & Hymas, we’re different from other accident attorneys—we don’t take every case that comes to us. We pride ourselves in being honest and clear with our clients. If you’ve been hurt as a pedestrian, let us know. As a service to our community, we’ll help you understand all the laws concerning your accident. In any case, enjoy the weather and be safe this summer season!