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What Are the Most Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?

A crosswalk reads "Walk"

With the proliferation of rideshare services and the influx of Americans to major cities, more people than ever are opting to ditch their cars and commute by foot. As a result, the number of pedestrians involved in motor vehicle accidents has risen. Few people are familiar with the causes of these accidents and what to do if you find yourself the victim of them. Let us look at some of the common causes of pedestrian accidents and how these accidents differ from conventional motor vehicle crashes.

Most Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

Distracted drivers or pedestrians

By far, the most common cause for pedestrian accidents is distracted drivers or pedestrians. It is a fairly common occurrence to see pedestrians either looking at their phones or listening to music while walking across busy intersections. Being unaware of your surroundings while entering an intersection is a recipe for disaster. Additionally, not being able to hear a car horn or an approaching vehicle can be the difference between life and death.

Drivers fare no better behind the wheel. Texting while driving is a notorious problem that persists throughout all types of drivers. Unique to drivers is the distraction caused by other passengers inside the vehicle. Taking your eye off the road to engage a passenger – even for a split-second – can cause you to miss a stop sign or blow through a crosswalk.

Drug and alcohol impairment

It goes without saying that drug and alcohol use does not mix with being an attentive and capable driver. Impairment caused by drugs or alcohol can not only lead to the injury or death of a pedestrian, but it may also land you in jail if it is proven that your impairment caused the accident.

While it is not illegal to consume alcohol and then drive a vehicle, Florida DUI law does establish thresholds for blood alcohol content (BAC) when operating one – and those thresholds are quite low. In fact, in Florida, the maximum allowable BAC is .08 percent which could amount to just a few drinks. It should be noted that drug and alcohol impairment does not just affect drivers. In fact, pedestrians under the influence can wander onto a busy road or stumble into traffic causing an accident.


It may come as a shock to some but posted maximum speed limit signs are meant to promote safe driving. Going too fast can easily limit your ability to stop when something unexpected occurs. Speeding at night especially presents a combination of potentially dangerous elements that can lead to an ugly accident. Investigators have the ability to measure the speed of a vehicle involved in a crash even after the crash has occurred. Unfortunately, excessive speeding is one of the top contributing factors to fatal car crashes in the United States.

Low visibility

While it would be ideal for all pedestrians to wear reflective clothing at night, the reality is that it will likely never happen. Low visibility coupled with a dark-clothed pedestrian increases the potential for a collision. Thick, low fog is another example of a condition that could cause poor visibility. Additionally, drivers who operate vehicles with inadequate or malfunctioning lighting naturally contribute to a visibility problem.

Involved in a Pedestrian Accident? We Can Help

Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents are not uncommon. These accidents pose a significant risk of permanent or fatal injuries due to the sheer force of a car crash on the unprotected human body. Pedestrian accidents also present a potentially complex lawsuit as typically only one person involved in the accident is carrying insurance.

An experienced personal injury attorney can give you the guidance and insights that you will need to ensure that you receive reasonable compensation for your damages. Our lawyers at The Watson Firm, PLLC have a vast amount of experience handling pedestrian accidents. If you need to pursue a lawsuit, we are here to help you through the entire process.

To schedule a consultation, call 850-607-2929 or contact us online to speak with an experienced attorney regarding your case.