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Pedestrians hit by vehicles: Common causes of serious injuries

Like most people, you are probably a pedestrian at some point in the day. Maybe you walk from the bus or train to your office in downtown Chicago. Or perhaps you're doing nothing more than walking through the parking lot on your way to the grocery store, coffee shop or gym.

As a pedestrian, you need to keep your eyes open at all times. You never know when a driver could make a mistake that might change your life.

Prevention is key

As pedestrians, we are often at the mercy of drivers' decisions. Here are some of the top causes of pedestrian accidents:

  • Distracted driving: This dangerous phenomenon can take many forms, but it frequently involves texting and other mobile phone use.
  • Reckless driving: This can include speeding, failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and failure to adjust vehicle speed for traffic and weather conditions.
  • Disobeying traffic signals or signs: Unfortunately, many drivers run red lights and stop signs at intersections.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol: Even legally-prescribed and over-the-counter (OTC) medications can cause driver impairment.
  • Drowsy or fatigued driving: This is a common problem with commercial drivers, but regular motorists are also vulnerable to the effects of tiredness.

Important things you can do

As a pedestrian, you can do the following to improve your safety:

  • Use a crosswalk when there is one. Avoid jaywalking.
  • Look both ways (twice) before entering the street.
  • Be aware of busy intersections where cars may make sudden turns.
  • Never dart into traffic or make sudden movements in a parking lot.
  • Be especially careful at night. Even responsible drivers can't always see in the dark.
  • Use reflective clothing and LED lights if you are running or biking when lighting isn't good.

If you spend a good portion of your day as a pedestrian, it's easy to get lazy about safety. When you let your guard down, there's a greater chance of something going wrong.

If you are injured

If you're involved in a pedestrian accident, you shouldn't attempt to leave the scene. Get witnesses and make a police report if you are able. Stay where you are, call for help and wait for an ambulance to arrive. From there, it's essential that you receive proper medical treatment at the hospital.

After you begin to recover, you can turn your attention to the cause of the accident and the protection of your legal rights. With the help of an attorney, you can take steps to hold the negligent party responsible for his or her actions.

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