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5 common causes of fatal pedestrian accidents — and how to protect yourself

Everyone knows that driving comes with its hazards. But going out for a walk can also be an intrinsically risky proposition. Impatient walkers, intoxicated drivers (and pedestrians), and stopping in crosswalks are mistakes that drivers and walkers alike can make that lead to catastrophic consequences.

The Patel Firm identified five common causes of fatal pedestrian accidents and broke down ways to stay protected. The forthcoming list was informed by 2019 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (released in 2021), as well as preliminary news reports from 2020 to 2022.

More than 6,700 pedestrians were killed in crashes in 2020, representing about a 5% increase from 2019, according to data from the Governors Highway Safety Association. In its report, the GHSA underscores several trends, such as reckless driving, insufficient lighting and signage, and increased sales of SUVs. The vast majority of American roads were constructed prior to the advent of the SUV, which means today’s pedestrians are contending with narrow roadways occupied by larger, heavier vehicles that pose significant threats to pedestrian safety.

American suburbs and most U.S. cities are largely planned around driving, with a few notable exceptions. But areas without sufficient sidewalk space for walkers, crosswalks, or clearly marked roadways put pedestrians at risk.

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