Since my work revolves around representing those injured in motor vehicle accidents, I have a pretty balanced perspective on what causes accidents.
In most cases, accidents are entirely preventable. Whether it is a pedestrian crosswalk accident or a rear-end collision, many accidents can be completely avoided if drivers and pedestrians follow these simple tips.
1. Drive within the posted speed limit. We have all had those times where we are crunched for time and the stoplights seem to be punishing you with delays. The time gained from speeding most likely will not be life-changing, but striking a pedestrian and launching him or her 50 feet down the pavement will. The simple fact of the matter is that many accidents are the direct result of someone driving at excessive speeds, making it impossible for everyone in traffic to adjust and avoid a collision. Give yourself and others the time and space they need to drive safely. That time may change depending on road and atmospheric conditions.
2. Make eye contact. Pedestrians crossing the street are often times caught off guard by drivers that never saw them enter the street. When approaching an intersection at a stop sign, attempting to make eye contact with the other drivers is an easy way to determine if they are planning to yield to you. Too often, distracted drivers will slow down for stop signs; then proceed without taking full stock of their surroundings – the so-called “rolling stop.” Making eye contact puts a lot of valuable information at your disposal.
3. Always have a plan to get home. With the ease of access to ride share apps, there is no reason to drive under the influence. If you plan on drinking alcohol or taking mind- altering medications, then plan on either staying the night or finding a way home that does not endanger those around you. Not only is driving under the influence punishable by law, it is easily one of the most reckless things anyone can do. Driving drunk is never the answer.
4. Focus. Pedestrians and drivers should strive to be distraction-free. Distractions are not just caused by phones. Discussions or arguments among friends and family, a good looking man or woman on the sidewalk or even a funny billboard can distract you plenty. Distractions come from everywhere, so limit your distractions–and keep those eyes on the road!