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5 dangers of being a pedestrian

| December 31, 2020, 11:06 AM

Pedestrians are some of the more vulnerable of anyone that shares the road because of the many dangers they have to face. From distracted or impaired drivers to poor road conditions, there are numerous risk factors that can get a pedestrian injured or killed. We have picked five of the most common dangers of being a pedestrian.

Pedestrian Road Traffic Injury Stats

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 270,000 pedestrians die on the roads worldwide every year. Pedestrians currently account for more than 20% of road fatalities; in the developing world, that number jumps to more than 30%. Besides, traffic collisions injure and maim millions of pedestrians every year, which sometimes leads to permanent disability.

Pedestrians are the most vulnerable traffic participants as they face more risk factors that can get them killed than other traffic participants. Speeding, impaired driving, lack of necessary infrastructure, and even their own reckless behavior such as walking intoxicated or distracted can put their lives at risk.

What’s more, pedestrians aged 21 to 40 are the most likely to be involved in a crash. This age group accounts for nearly 60% of all traffic fatalities in most parts of the world. Children, teens, and seniors aged 75 or older are also at the highest risk.

Male pedestrians are more likely to die in a traffic incident than females (70% vs 30% or 2.19 deaths per 100 000 residents vs of 0.91 per 100 000 residents in the United States).

Also, poverty plays a significant role in determining a pedestrian’s odds of dying in a traffic accident. Fatal pedestrian traffic injuries occur four times more frequently in poor neighborhoods than they do in areas populated by people from a higher socioeconomic status stratum.

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5 Common Dangers Pedestrians Face

There are at least five common dangers of being a pedestrian that could get them killed.


The speed at which drivers travel can have deadly consequences for pedestrians. A speeding driver will have a slimmer margin of error when a pedestrian pops up in front of the car, be it a jaywalker or a pedestrian in a crosswalk that the driver failed to see. If the road is wet, the likelihood of a deadly crash multiplies exponentially.

A driver driving at 30 mph will need a stopping distance of 118 feet to come to a full halt in normal driving conditions. A car traveling at 25 mph will require 88.5 feet to fully stop. A study from the 90s found that the safest driving speed for cars in high pedestrian traffic areas is 18.6 mph, as, at this speed, pedestrians have 90% odds of survival. Pedestrians hit by a driver traveling at 37 mph have a 20% risk of dying in the collision.

Alcohol Impairment

Driving or walking intoxicated can lead to situations that can get a pedestrian killed. For instance, an impaired driver is more likely to make poor judgments, not spot the pedestrian, have dangerously slow reaction times, and have low vigilance. Usually, impaired drivers are more likely to speed than their non-impaired peers due to poor judgment.

However, impaired drivers are not the only danger on our nation’s roads. Impaired pedestrians can be just as dangerous as numerous studies have found. According to WHO data,  35% of pedestrians killed in the United States in 2009 were intoxicated. Surprisingly, just 13% of US drunk drivers caused a pedestrian fatality in 2009. Also, pedestrians are more likely to be intoxicated than their counterparts behind the wheel.

Distracted Walking

Distracted walking has been a growing problem in recent years when it comes to pedestrian fatalities. Pedestrians use their electronic devices to text, send or read emails, listen to music, browse playlists, and all this while walking and paying very little attention to their surroundings. Around one in three pedestrians who cross a busy intersection are now distracted.

Poor Infrastructure

Poorly designed and maintained roads are also a common danger pedestrians need to be on the lookout for. Some roads are simply not designed with pedestrians in mind, while others have been poorly designed with pedestrians in mind considering them more as obstacles instead of vulnerable people that need protection.

Lack of road facilities that can keep pedestrians safe such as sidewalks, properly maintained crossings, traffic signs, can put pedestrians in harm’s way with little to no recourse. Suing a municipality or the state government for poor infrastructure that has led to a life-altering injury is an uphill battle that ultimately won’t get full functionality back after an accident.

Poor Visibility

Inadequate visibility is yet another danger that can get pedestrians injured. A driver might fail to spot a pedestrian for multiple reasons, including poor road lighting, lack of reflective accessories on pedestrians and cyclists, and pedestrians walking on the road in high-speed-limit areas.

Pedestrians face numerous dangers while on the road, but the list doesn’t stop here. Other risk factors for pedestrians include poor traffic rule enforcement, distracted driving, failure to respect pedestrians’ right of way, driver attitudes, vehicle malfunctions, and more. The five dangers on this list are only the most common and a good place to start when it comes to improving pedestrian safety.

Severn Bank

Category: Local News, NEWS

About the Author - Stephanie Maris

Stefanie is a local blogger and social media content marketer from Maryland and most recently a wife and a mother. She has an unhealthy obsession with puns, sarcasm and caffeinated beverages.

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