As spring draws closer and more people spend time outdoors, most people don't think about the danger of traffic when deciding to take an afternoon or evening walk. Even on nice days when you skip the car ride in favor of walking to complete a quick errand, car crashes remain a real risk.
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrians die each year in West Virginia due to car crashes or accidents. Although the number has been holding steady, neither increasing or decreasing for the latest two years in which there is data collected, this doesn't mean the risk is any less severe.
The latest data shows that in 2015 and 2014, 19 pedestrians died in West Virginia in traffic crashes for each of the years. That's a reduction from 2013, when 28 pedestrians in the state died.
The previous years' fatalities of pedestrians is as follows:
- 2012: 31
- 2011: 20
- 2010: 13
- 2009: 21
- 2008: 13
- 2007: 27
- 2006: 21
What causes pedestrian deaths?
There are many factors that can cause car crashes that result in pedestrian fatalities. These factors include:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Failure of drivers or pedestrians to obey traffic laws
- Right of way violation
- Weather conditions reducing visibility
- Sidewalks unavailable in the area
To reduce your risk of being a victim of a pedestrian accident:
- Always pay close attention to traffic when you are walking, even on a seemingly quiet road.
- Always walk on the correct side of the street if there are no sidewalks
- If sidewalks are available, use them.
- Obey all traffic signals at pedestrian crosswalks.
- Look both ways before you cross the street, even if you have the right of way.
Taking these precautions can keep you and your loved ones safe from becoming unfortunate victims of a pedestrian accident. These crashes are often so severe to pedestrians that they can leave people with serious injuries or fatalities. Enjoying the outdoors and walking outside doesn't have to be a scary thing, but being smart about your surroundings can keep it an enjoyable activity instead of a tragic event.