Pedestrian Collisions

Common Types of Pedestrian Related Collisions

A Compendium of NHTSA’s Pedestrian and Bicyclist Traffic Safety Research Projects 1969-2007 cites a study by Snyder and Knoblauch in which they identify several common types of pedestrian-vehicle collisions.

Dart-out (first or second half) – Occurs when a pedestrian suddenly appears from the side of the road and is struck due to limited driver reaction time. This type of collision can occur in either half of the pedestrian’s crossing. Often, the view of the driver is obstructed by an object such as a vehicle on the side of the road.

Intersection dash – Similar to the dart-out, but takes place in an intersection. The pedestrian appears suddenly and hurries across an intersection and is struck due to a limited driver reaction time.

Multiple threat and commercial-bus-related – Occurs when a vehicle is stopped to allow a pedestrian to pass. The stopped vehicle may block the view of the intersection for a second oncoming car that plans to pass the stopped vehicle, exposing the pedestrian to being struck. This also occurs in the case of a stopped commercial bus.

Vehicle turn/merge – Occurs when drivers do not see a pedestrian approaching because their concentration is focused on entering or merging into traffic. In situations near a busy intersection, there is a number of varying factors for both the driver and pedestrian to focus on, which can lead them to neglect the real danger in front of them.

Vendor/ice cream truck – Typically occurs in neighborhoods when a younger pedestrian is approaching or leaving a vending vehicle and is struck by an overtaking vehicle.

Backing Up – Results when drivers do not look behind when backing out of a driveway or parking spot or in a street.

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. One study showed that almost half of all traffic crashes resulting in pedestrian casualties involved alcohol consumption. Surprisingly, 35 percent of that total was on the part of the pedestrian. Alcohol impairs your decision-making skills, physical reflexes and other abilities just as much on your feet at it does behind the wheel.