Pedestrian Accidents

What are the Main Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?

Most of us know to call a car accident lawyer in Colorado if we’re involved in a car accident in Denver for example. But what happens if you’re a pedestrian involved in an accident? Every year, thousands of pedestrians are injured by motor vehicles. In 2017 alone, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), almost 6,000 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes. Clearly, accidents between pedestrians and vehicles are a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

While every pedestrian accident is unique, there are common causes of these types of accidents. By understanding these causes, we can work to prevent pedestrian accidents and make our roads safer for everyone—pedestrians included. Here, we’re taking a closer look at pedestrian accidents, some of the most common causes of these accidents, and ways that you can prevent pedestrian accidents.


By definition, a pedestrian is anyone walking alongside a road or other type of developed area. Thus, a pedestrian accident occurs whenever there is a collision between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian. These accidents, as compared to car accidents, tend to result in more serious injuries because the pedestrian has little to no protection.

While anyone could be involved in a pedestrian accident, certain individuals have higher levels of risk. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), small children and elderly pedestrians are the most at risk for pedestrian accidents.


Like car accidents or truck accidents, the exact cause of every pedestrian accident is unique. Distracted driving, failure to yield, or impairment from drugs or alcohol can all lead to pedestrian accidents. However, there are some common causes that, if understood, could help us all to reduce the number of pedestrian accidents. Here’s a closer look at these common causes of pedestrian accidents:

1. Distracted driving.

Distracted driving takes many forms: using your cell phone, talking to a passenger, playing with the radio, or simply daydreaming behind the wheel. Regardless of the cause, distracted driving is dangerous and a common cause of car accidents and pedestrian accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving led to over 2,800 deaths in 2018.

However, pedestrian accidents may also be caused when the pedestrian is distracted. This most commonly occurs when a pedestrian is using their phone or another type of electronic device. It’s important for pedestrians—and drivers—to always be aware of their surroundings.

2. Impaired by drugs or alcohol.

We all know how dangerous drunk driving is, and yet, this remains as one of the leading causes of pedestrian accidents. In fact, per the Center for Disease Control (CDC), almost half of all pedestrian accidents involved a driver with a blood alcohol content over the legal limit.

Additionally, it can be dangerous if pedestrians are under the influence. Someone walking alongside a road who is under the influence may stumble into the road or cross at an unexpected juncture. Drugs and alcohol dramatically impair your ability, both as a driver and as a pedestrian, to make smart, safe decisions.

3. Hazardous weather conditions.

Driving becomes much more dangerous during adverse weather conditions. Snow, sleet, and rain can make it more difficult to navigate the roads and it takes much longer to fully stop a vehicle on a wet or snowy road.


Additionally, rain and snow make it harder for drivers to see, which means that they could never even see a pedestrian at a crosswalk or moving down a sidewalk. During hazardous weather conditions, it’s critical for drivers to slow down and remain extra cautious of road conditions and their surroundings.

4. Pedestrians at night.

According to the NHTSA, roughly three-quarters of pedestrian accidents occur at night. Walking or jogging near a road at night is particularly hazardous because a distracted or impaired driver could easily never see you. While it’s recommended for pedestrians to avoid roadways at night, you should wear bright clothing or reflectors that can attach to your clothing if you need to be out at night.

5. Vehicles making left turns.

When a car is preparing to make a left turn at an intersection, they often focus solely on the oncoming traffic. This means that they can easily miss a pedestrian who is legally crossing the street.


Both drivers and pedestrians can work to prevent pedestrian accidents. While drivers have paramount responsibility whenever they’re operating their vehicle, reckless or distracted pedestrians can also cause pedestrian accidents.

Vehicle drivers can do the following to prevent pedestrian accidents:

  • Slow down, especially in cities and neighborhoods.
  • Stay focused on the road at all times.
  • Obey all traffic signs and signals.
  • Be extra cautious driving in hazardous weather conditions.
  • Make eye contact with pedestrians crossing the road.
  • Don’t assume anyone can see you.
  • Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Of course, pedestrians can also play an active role in reducing the number of pedestrian accidents. This is truly a shared responsibility. Here are a few things to remember when you’re walking alongside a road:

  • Only use designated crosswalks and areas.
  • Never assume a driver can see you.
  • Make eye contact with drivers when crossing the road.
  • Whenever you can, walk on a sidewalk instead of the road.
  • Avoid using headphones or electronic devices that can easily become a distraction.
  • Wear bright colors or reflectors when walking, jogging, or riding your bicycle at night.


Pedestrian safety should be a top priority for everyone on the roads. Without the added protection of a seatbelt and the frame of a vehicle, pedestrians are especially vulnerable to serious injuries and loss of life when involved in a traffic accident. Our highways and roads should be safe for everyone.

If you are involved in a pedestrian accident in Colorado, you should certainly reach out to a personal injury attorney in Denver. These professionals can help you understand your rights, find medical care, and assess your case. If warranted, they can also help you receive financial compensation.

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