The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken our country to its core. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have tested positive for the virus, and tens of thousands have died from it. Millions more have moved home for the time being as countless non-essential businesses have been forced to temporarily close or limit their offerings.
Along with most other states, West Virginia has issued a “shelter in place” order, which limits movements outside of homes to only essential activities. Citizens have been asked to stay in their homes, and when they do need to go out, they are supposed to keep at least a 6-foot distance from others.
With most of us spending a lot more time at home, there are fewer vehicles out on the road. There are more big rig trucks and delivery vehicles out there, but there are far less people commuting to their offices. At the same time, however, there are quite a few more people going out for walks.
Walking is one activity that is allowed under the state’s “shelter in place” order, and with gymnasiums closed, it is one of the best ways for West Virginians to get their exercise. Going for a walk is also a great way to get some fresh air and enjoy the Spring weather.
The increase in walking traffic in West Virginia neighborhoods does pose a risk of more pedestrian accidents. And because pedestrians are not protected by a steel cage like motorists are, they tend to end up with more severe and catastrophic injuries. Because of this risk, it is very important for both drivers and pedestrians to be extra cautious and do everything possible to avoid this type of crash.
Tips for Avoiding Pedestrian Accidents
- Avoid Distractions: Motorists have more distractions than ever these days, particularly those who are addicted to their smartphones. Texting while driving and similar activity is extremely dangerous, because it distracts drivers visually, manually, and cognitively. This can cause them to miss important details, such as a pedestrian crossing in front of them. Put your phone away when you drive, it is not worth risking a life to send or receive a text.
- Follow Traffic Laws: Aggressive or reckless driving is a major contributor to many pedestrian accidents. When a motorist is driving too fast, for example, they have far less time to slow down or stop the vehicle to avoid a pedestrian. Running stop signs, going through red lights, and failing to yield the right-of-way are some of the other common causes of pedestrian crashes.
- Stay Sober: Driving while chemically impaired slows reaction times and generally results in very poor driving behaviors, many of which put pedestrians in great danger. Refrain from drinking and driving at all times – the potential consequences of this behavior are just not worth it.
- Look Out for Pedestrians: Motorists need to be mindful of the fact that there are more pedestrians out walking right now, and act accordingly. And as we touched on earlier, the bulk of this increase in traffic is happening in your local neighborhoods.
- Be Visible: It is important to do everything within reason to make sure that drivers see you when you are out walking. This means wearing brightly colored clothing during the day and lightly colored or reflective clothing at night. Also, try to walk in areas where there is plenty of lighting, and try to make eye contact with vehicle drivers before crossing the road in front of them.
- Be Alert: Smartphone activity can be a problem for pedestrians as well, and it can cause them to trip and fall and/or not see nearby vehicles. Having your headphones turned up too loud could also cause a pedestrian not to hear a vehicle that is behind them. Stay safe by limiting the use of your phone while you walk.
- Follow the Rules: Be predictable and follow all of the rules wherever you are walking. Cross the road only at designated crosswalks or other places where crossing is legal, and always make sure that traffic is clear before you cross.
- Stay Sober: Although the majority of alcohol-related pedestrian crashes involve a chemically impaired motorist, some also involve a pedestrian who is intoxicated. Alcohol impairs the judgment of both drivers and pedestrians, so do yourself a favor and stay sober when you walk.
Injured in a Pedestrian Accident in West Virginia? Contact Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. for Assistance
If you or a loved one suffered injury in a pedestrian crash in West Virginia, you may be entitled to compensation. Seek medical attention immediately and get in touch with an experienced attorney at your earliest convenience. Even during the midst of COVID-19, it is still very important to have your case evaluated so you fully understand your legal rights and options.
At Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C., we have over four decades of experience successfully representing West Virginians who have been injured in pedestrian accidents and those who have suffered all other types of personal injuries. We are taking all the precautions and following all social distancing guidelines brought on by the current pandemic, but we are still open, fully functional, and ready to serve you.
For a free consultation with one of our attorneys, message us online or call us today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979.