Top tips for reducing accidents involving pedestrians
Our personal injury solicitors often see the devastating impact that road traffic accidents can have, and that is why we are strong supporters of RoadPeace and their National Road Victim Month campaign.
This Road Victim Month, we want to focus on keeping pedestrians safe. Sadly, around 430 pedestrians are killed on British roads every year, according to Statista. With an increasing number of people choosing to reduce their carbon footprint by travelling on foot, keeping pedestrians safe on the road is more important than ever.
Changes to the Highway Code
The Highway Code was updated in January 2022 to provide a hierarchy of road users, meaning that those who can do the greatest damage on the road bear the greatest responsibility in ensuring road safety. This means that motorists have a higher duty of care to keep pedestrians and cyclists safe on the road. This is because pedestrians and cyclists are more vulnerable, and the effects of an accident would be more devastating.
The changes to the Highway Code were also brought in to clarify existing rules on pedestrian priority whilst on pavements and crossing the road.
Did you know…
- Pedestrians have priority whether or not they have started to cross the road.
- If pedestrians are crossing a road that a motorist is turning into, or waiting to cross the road at the junction, the pedestrian has priority and the traffic should stop and let the pedestrian cross.
It is recommended that motorists, cyclists and pedestrians familiarise themselves with the Highway Code, as everyone has an obligation to keep road users safe.
Road traffic accidents involving pedestrians
According to a GOV.UK report, there were 16,654 pedestrians injured in road traffic accidents in 2021. This included:
- 11,261 pedestrians who received minor injuries
- 5,032 pedestrians who received serious injuries
- 361 pedestrians who unfortunately died as a result of an accident
It’s not all doom and gloom though, as fatalities have decreased by 46% since 2004, and serious injuries have fallen by 51%, despite the average distance walked by pedestrians increasing by 10%.
Whilst these figures are promising, there is still more that can be done to ensure the safety of pedestrians.
Four ways motorists can keep pedestrians safe
Our road traffic accident solicitors are all too aware of the dangers that pedestrians face on the road. Based on the common causes of road traffic accidents our clients are involved in, we have put together a list of the small but crucial steps you can take to reduce the risk of an accident with a pedestrian.
Look out for pedestrians at all times
Whether you are just setting off on your drive, parking your vehicle, or turning at a junction, always be on the lookout for pedestrians, especially in your blind spot.
Be prepared to stop and slow down
When approaching a zebra crossing, turning into a junction, or driving in a busy public space such as a car park, outside a school, or on a main road, be prepared to stop or slow down to let pedestrians pass safely.
Control your speed
It’s common for motorists to argue that a pedestrian or cyclist “came out of nowhere”. However, as motorists are the only road users with an engine, it’s more likely that the motorist has travelled too fast. Keep in mind that speed limits are a maximum speed, not a minimum speed, and it may be more appropriate to travel at a slower speed depending on the circumstances, especially when visibility is limited or when approaching corners and crossroads.
Reverse with care
Be extra careful when reversing your vehicle, especially when parking in a car park where there is heavy foot traffic such as in shopping centres. Reversing around a corner can also pose a high risk, as a pedestrian may be just out of sight.
How can pedestrians keep themselves safe?
Keeping pedestrians safe is the responsibility of all road users, not only motorists. Here are four ways you can keep yourself safe as a pedestrian.
Cross the road safely
Choose a place to cross the road where you can see in all directions clearly. Do not cross the road between parked cars or on a bend. Remember to stop, look, and listen, and also use crossings when they are available.
Always face oncoming traffic
If there is no path to walk on and you are forced to walk on the road, walk facing the traffic. This will allow you to not just hear, but also see, oncoming traffic, increasing your reaction time and reducing the risk of an accident.
Watch out for reversing and parking cars
Always be alert for reversing and parking cars, especially when crossing driveways and parking spaces. When on the road or around motorists, the use of headphones or earphones is not advised, as this can prevent you from hearing an oncoming car, or the sound of an engine start.
Wear appropriate clothing
It may seem obvious, but we recommend wearing bright clothing during the day, and reflective clothing or accessories after dark. Reflective materials can be seen by drivers using headlights up to three times as far away as non-reflective clothing.
Speak to our road traffic accident solicitors in Bristol
If you or someone you know has been injured on the road, whether as a pedestrian, cyclist or motorist, our specialist road traffic accident solicitors are here to help.