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Pedestrian tips for safer walking experiences

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention addressed what is common knowledge - that pedestrians are no match for vehicles when the two collide on roads. On any given day, approximately 430 pedestrians in the United States require Emergency Room treatment for injuries suffered in vehicular accidents.

The CDC examined traffic fatality statistics from 2013. They found that 4,735 pedestrians died in traffic mishaps, with at least 156,000 more who sought ER treatment for injuries that were non-life-threatening. Roughly every two hours, a pedestrian succumbs to injuries that occurred in an automobile collision.

The risk is real

While anyone who walks is at some risk of being hurt or even dying in an auto-pedestrian accident, some demographic groups bear more liability. They include:

  • Those between the ages of 15 and 29 have the greatest risk of requiring emergency treatment for the injuries they suffer after being struck by motorists.
  • Overall, males have higher rates of injuries and death from auto-pedestrian collisions.
  • Those who are intoxicated, as this significantly raises the risk of fatalities.
  • Children under 15, due to their slight body mass, inexperience with traffic regulations and inability to accurately assess traffic speeds and distances. Of all traffic fatalities, 20 percent fall into this age range.

Be proactive about pedestrian safety

If you are a frequent walker or jogger or someone who depends on their own two feet to get around, chances are you have had your share of close calls navigating in traffic. But there are things you can do to stay safer when out walking, including:

  • Leave the headphones and electronic devices at home.
  • Whenever possible, walk on sidewalks during daylight hours.
  • When it's necessary to walk after dark, wear clothes that are reflective or that have been fitted with reflective tape.
  • Carry flashlights for after-dark walks.
  • If no sidewalks are present walk facing traffic along the shoulder of the road.
  • Use crosswalks to cross, and when these aren't available, cross only at intersections.

If, despite your best intentions you still wind up injured in an automobile-pedestrian clash, the Massachusetts civil court system is one avenue to take when seeking compensation for your injuries and coverage for your medical expenses.

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