Pedestrian collisions are not something we prepare for typically. When thinking about a car crash, most of us envision two vehicles barreling into one another. However, accidents involving drivers and people not inside of a vehicle are far more common than one might think. Causing around 6,000 fatalities per year, pedestrian collisions are preventable accidents that change lives forever.
When Vehicles and Bikes Collide: Seth’s Story
Not all pedestrian collisions result in death. Many of these crashes result in life-changing injuries. This was the case for Seth Hanchey, who survived being hit by a van but received a traumatic brain injury when he was just 17 years old.
Although Hanchey went on to win the gold medal as a powerlifter in the Special Olympics, the path was not an easy one. He has struggled with speech issues and work hard to overcome physical and emotional setbacks that were preventable. With his parents, he established the Team Seth Foundation to help others with TBI caused by pedestrian collisions and other types of accidents.
Pedestrian Collisions: Who Is At Risk?
Children, older adults, and those who are alcohol-impaired are at the highest risk of being involved in pedestrian collisions. Here are risk factors, according to the CDC:
- Adults over 65 account for 20% of all pedestrian deaths
- 1 out of 5 children under the age of 15 killed in collisions were pedestrians
- Half of all pedestrian collisions involve alcohol use (either by the driver or the pedestrian)
- High speeds make the risk of hitting someone walking or riding a bike much more likely
- Walking at night, in a city, and through intersections greatly increases the chance of being hit by a car
Avoiding Accidents Like Seth’s
Most of us assume that people who cause pedestrian collisions are terrible, drunk or, distracted drivers. This is not always the case. Seth’s story is one of forgiveness as he was able to meet and forgive the elderly driver who crashed into his bicycle. A good-hearted woman, the driver made a mistake that had devastating consequences.
Here are some things you can do to avoid pedestrian collisions as a driver:
- Keep your eyes on the road at all time. Avoid distractions like eating, texting, or talking on the phone while driving.
- Always slow down in pedestrian areas, even if you do not see anyone.
- Check backup cameras when reversing.
- Be on alert for school children, the elderly, and mentally challenged people. They are unlikely to pay as close attention to oncoming traffic.
- Watch where you turn! Improper turns in front of pedestrians are a huge cause of pedestrian collisions.
- If you are turning “right-on-red,” look for pedestrians, not just other drivers.
- Be even more cautious during bad weather since rain and other types of precipitation can hinder your view and the pedestrians.
- Prevent teen accidents by teaching your children the importance of pedestrian safety.
- Do not pass vehicles at a crosswalk or yielding for pedestrians.
- Come to a complete stop for school buses and do not even think of going around a stopped bus with an extended ‘stop sign.’
- Do not drive under the influence, ever!
Pedestrians can increase their own safety by:
- Staying in well-lit areas whenever possible
- Carrying a flashlight and wearing retro-reflective clothing
- Walking on a sidewalk or path if they are available
- (If no sidewalk is available) walking on the shoulder facing oncoming traffic
- Only crossing at designated intersection
- Avoiding “jay-walking,” even if no cars are present
- Staying distraction free—do not look at your phone, text or talk, while walking
- If you are drinking, find another way home instead of walking or riding a bike (i.e., call a cab or Uber.)
We hope you are never involved in such a crash. But if you are, call Orlando Auto Body at 480-418-4737 for an estimate and advice on repairs.