Pedestrian Collisions

Common Types of Pedestrian Related Collisions

Pedestrian Darts/Steps Out Midblock. A pedestrian runs or walks out into the roadway in an unmarked area in the middle of the block (not in a crosswalk or at an intersection) and is struck by a vehicle. Groups of youth are playing sports (football, hockey, etc.) in a roadway or run into the street to retrieve a ball.

  • As a pedestrian: Cross at a crosswalk using pedestrian crossing signals, when available. If crossing midblock, wait at each edge for traffic to clear from both directions.  Play sports in areas away from traffic. If your ball goes into the roadway, stop and look for traffic before entering.
  • As a driver: Slow down. Be aware of your surroundings, especially in residential areas, school zones, or shopping centers. Watch for pedestrians (especially children) on the side of the road; be prepared for unpredictable behavior

Vehicle Makes a Turn (Right or Left) at an Intersection. A vehicle turns or merges into the path of a pedestrian without yielding. This includes a vehicle turning into or out of a driveway or alley or a right turn on red.

  • As a pedestrian: Be alert for turning vehicles and those who may not stop at red lights or stop signs. Stay in crosswalks and obey traffic signals. If possible, communicate (e.g., eye contact, hand gesture) with drivers before crossing the roadway.
  • As a driver: Before turning, look for other vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists and yield to them. Yield to pedestrians with the ”Walk” signal and those already in a crosswalk, as required by law. This includes continuing to yield if the pedestrian is crossing and the “Walk” signal has expired. When turning right on red, come to a complete stop and scan for all traffic, including pedestrians and bicyclists. Proceed only when clear.

Pedestrian Walking or Jogging Along the Road. A pedestrian is walking or jogging in the roadway in the same direction as motorized traffic fails to recognize a vehicle approaching behind them. A crash could occur if the driver is not paying attention or does not see the pedestrian, and the pedestrian fails to recognize the threat and try to get out of the way quickly.

  • As a pedestrian: Walk or run facing traffic. Use sidewalks or paths to separate you from moving traffic. If no sidewalk is present, stay on the shoulder and/or as far away from traffic as possible. Wear bright, contrasting colors during the day and use reflective wear and lights if walking at night.
  • As a driver: Slow down. Watch for persons walking or running along the road, especially in the absence of sidewalks. Drive alert and focused. Use extra caution driving at night, remaining alert for all traffic, including pedestrians.

Backing Vehicle. A driver fails to see traffic when backing from a driveway, private road, or parking lot. A pedestrian walks behind a moving vehicle or fails to stay alert and recognize a vehicle preparing to back up.

  • As a pedestrian: Be alert for drivers who are parking, idling in a parking space, or backing out of a parking space. Make your presence known to drivers. If you are unsure, do not walk near the vehicle. In parking lots, pedestrians should walk as far away from rows of parked cars as safely possible. This provides both the driver and pedestrian better visibility and reaction time to stop.
  • As a driver: Look behind, to the left and right for traffic (including pedestrians) before backing up. If possible, ask passengers to also check for pedestrians or other hazards. Walk behind a parked car before getting in to make sure no children are playing there. Note: Large vehicles have especially large blind spots.

Distracted Motorist and/or Pedestrian. A motorist or pedestrian is distracted by electronic devices or talking to others and is hit – Motorist or Bicyclist Rides Through Stop Signal or Red Light.

  • As a pedestrian: Avoid distractions; be alert to vehicles and your surroundings at all times.
  • As a driver: Avoid distractions; direct your full attention to the road and all road users. Obey all signs and signals. Come to a complete stop at signs and look for all traffic before going. Come to a complete stop at red lights. Only turn right on red when traffic is clear.

Commercial Bus Related. A pedestrian is crossing after exiting a commercial bus stopped at a marked bus stop and is hit by an oncoming motorist.

  • As a pedestrian: Cross at corners or marked/unmarked crosswalks with the pedestrian signal. Wait for the bus to leave before attempting to cross. Stop and look at each edge when crossing multiple lanes to make sure drivers see you. Walk focused and alert to all traffic, even when you have the right-of-way.
  • As a driver: Obey all signs and signals and remain alert for pedestrians at all times, especially around commercial bus stops.

Multiple Threat. The first car stops for the pedestrian in the crosswalk. The second car approaches and its driver’s view of the pedestrian is obstructed by another vehicle to the side. The driver doesn’t stop and hits the pedestrian.

  • As a pedestrian: Yield to each lane of traffic to make sure each motorist sees you.
  • As a driver: Slow and prepare to stop when a motorist in the next lane has stopped; the motorist may be stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross.

Pedestrian Crossing Against Signal/Pedestrian Trapped. A pedestrian fails to obey the “Don’t Walk” signal or look for traffic before stepping off the curb, even if the WALK signal is present. A pedestrian is in the crosswalk when the traffic signals change, and the car fails to yield to the pedestrian already in the crosswalk.

  • As a pedestrian: Cross with the pedestrian “Walk” signal. If you are already in the crosswalk when the orange “Don’t Walk” signal is flashing, complete crossing as quickly and safely as possible. If there is a (pedestrian) refuge island, wait there until the next “Walk” signal. If you have not begun crossing and have a steady orange “Don’t Walk” signal, stop and wait for the next “Walk” signal.
  • As a driver: Yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk. Proceed only when it is clear to do so.

Causes and Prevention

These types of collisions and subsequent fatalities can often be avoided by ensuring that, as a pedestrian, you are visible, predictable and continuously following safe practices. Always remember to:

  • Take time to be aware of your surroundings. Many collisions are caused by carelessness on the part of the driver or pedestrian. Always pay attention to vehicles around you, and follow all traffic rules.
  • Avoid distractions. Cell phones, handheld devices, video games, newspapers, headphones, eating or anything thing else that takes your eyes, ears or mind off the road is a distraction. Any of these has the potential to distract you at the exact moment that you need to be alert.
  • Stay Sober. Approximately one in three pedestrians killed on our roads were under the influence of alcohol when they were struckAlcohol impairs your decision-making skills, physical reflexes and other abilities just as much on your feet at it does behind the wheel.

Fatalities of pedestrians with BACs of .08 or higher increased by 43% and accounted for 28% of the overall increase in pedestrian fatalities. Alcohol impairs your decision-making skills, physical reflexes and other abilities just as much on your feet as it does behind the wheel.