What Are the Most Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

What Are the Most Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

common causes of pedestrian accidents

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), over 7,900 pedestrians died in traffic-related or non-traffic accidents in 2020. Although this represents a small portion of traffic accidents, the proportion of pedestrian deaths and injuries compared to automobile passengers is much higher.

Sadly, most of these pedestrian accidents are caused by a few contributing factors. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a pedestrian accident, you may be eligible for compensation.

It’s important to understand pedestrian accident causes and know what to do if you’re involved in one. Here’s a look at the most common causes of pedestrian accidents.


Unmarked Crosswalks

Unfortunately, many crosswalks are unmarked or have faded markings. This makes crossing dangerous and can lead to an accident. 

“Zebra” crossings are easy to spot. They help save hundreds of lives each year.

When motorists see street markings or lights alerting them to pedestrians, they are more likely to proceed with caution. As a pedestrian, you must be aware of inconspicuous crosswalks and exercise caution each time you cross the street.


Distracted Driving

Distracted driving accidents have increased in frequency in recent decades, and claimed 3,142 lives in 2020. This in large part is due to the use of cell phones and hand-held devices.

Texting while driving is a common cause of accidents. It’s estimated that a texting driver often travels the length of a football field without glancing up at the road.

Cell phones are a big distraction, but they aren’t the only ones. Loud music, eating, conversations, and applying makeup also distract drivers. 

Anything that causes a driver to take their eyes off the road can lead to a pedestrian accident. Drivers aren’t always at fault.

Pedestrians can also cause accidents by jaywalking, cell phone use, or not paying attention to oncoming traffic.


Left Turns

pedestrian crossing sign

A driver turning left must navigate an opposing traffic lane.  For this reason, a driver turning left may focus on the traffic rather than pedestrians. And this can lead to disaster. If a driver will be turning left into your path, it’s important to stay alert. Always assume that a driver can’t see you as you navigate any crossing.


Weather Conditions

When the weather is the cause of a pedestrian accident, it can be difficult to assign liability. Some ways inclement weather can lead to a pedestrian accident include:

  • Icy or wet roads may affect stopping and lead to hydroplaning
  • Rain, sleet, or snow that reduces visibility 
  • Wet or icy roadsides that lead to pedestrians slipping in a car’s path 

It’s the driver’s responsibility to exercise caution while driving in inclement weather. They should adjust their driving accordingly, slowing down sooner before a stop or leaving more space between their vehicle and the one in front of them.



Jaywalking occurs when a pedestrian walks across a road outside of a marked or unmarked crosswalk. The pedestrian must yield to the driver.

If you’re injured while jaywalking, you may be entitled to compensation, reduced compensation, or no compensation. 

If you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident, it’s essential to contact an experienced pedestrian accident attorney to discuss your case.


Dark Clothing

pedestrian wearing dark clothing at night

Dark clothing on a dark night can be a deadly combination for a pedestrian. A motorist can’t avoid hitting what they can’t see.

If you’re wearing dark colors at night, assume that drivers cannot see you. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, in 2020, 76% of pedestrian accidents occurred in dark lighting conditions.

If you have to be out at night on a poorly lit road, wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight. Walk on a sidewalk or path, rather than the road. if you must be on the road, walk on the shoulder facing traffic.

Avoid using earbuds and other electronic devices which cause you to be distracted while walking. Avoid walking under the influence of alcohol or drugs which may impair your coordination and judgment. 


Drugs, Alcohol, or Medications 

Drugs, alcohol, and even prescription medication intoxication are frequent causes of vehicle accidents, including pedestrian accidents. About 30% of all motor vehicle accident fatalities are caused by drunk driving. Alcohol and drugs can affect your judgment, vision, and hand-eye coordination.

Some over-the-counter drugs can cause drowsiness or blurred vision. Driver intoxication may lead to an accident. Pedestrian intoxication may also lead to jaywalking, falling into the street, or loss of consciousness.


Poor Visibility

motorists driving in the rain

There are many causes for poor visibility. These include:

  • Poor weather
  • Road conditions, including a blind curve
  • Improper headlight use 
  • Misadjusted mirrors

Using bright lights in foggy conditions can further reduce a driver’s visibility. 


Multi-Lane and Arterial Roads

Multi-lane and arterial roads can distract drivers by commanding their attention. Dealing with lane changes, navigating traffic, or tailgating motorists may take a driver’s attention away from pedestrians.

This can be especially dangerous when a pedestrian must travel across multiple lanes to reach their destination. If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, it’s in your best interest to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.


Driver’s Duty of Care

Duty of care is the legal obligation of an individual to adhere to a standard of reasonable care while performing an act that could potentially harm others.

If a driver fails to exercise reasonable care, it could be considered negligence. If a pedestrian is injured or killed by a driver’s negligent act, the driver could be held liable for the pedestrian’s injuries and losses.

Drivers have a responsibility to watch for pedestrians and practice reasonable care to avoid an accident. Pedestrians are responsible for obeying traffic laws and being aware of their surroundings.


Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

There are many common causes of pedestrian accidents. Experiencing a pedestrian accident is often scary and difficult. 

If you got involved in a pedestrian accident at no fault of your own, the driver could be held liable for your injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and more.

The process of recovering physically and mentally can be a long, difficult road. Don’t try to face it alone.

If you’re the victim of a pedestrian accident, Alpha Accident Lawyers is here to help. Our goal is to maximize compensation for you. We won’t settle for anything less.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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