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Joseph H. Downer, Attorney

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Common causes of pedestrian accidents

On Behalf of | May 6, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Pedestrian accidents are often overlooked as the media focuses on motor vehicle accident education. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 228 pedestrian fatalities in North Carolina in 2020, with 28 of those in Mecklenburg County.

Recognizing the most common causes of pedestrian accidents can help drivers and pedestrians alike focus on safety.


Motor vehicle drivers and pedestrians are both responsible for paying attention to their surroundings and traffic signals. A driver glancing at their phone at a stop light may not see a pedestrian in the crosswalk before proceeding through the intersection. A distracted pedestrian could step out in front of a car or cross against the signal, increasing the risk of an accident. Remain alert and aware at all times to reduce the risk of a pedestrian accident.

Failure to yield

Many people mistakenly believe that pedestrians have the right of way at all times and that drivers must yield to their presence. In fact, pedestrians should yield to drivers on the road unless they are in a crosswalk with a clear traffic indication to cross. Pedestrians should watch for oncoming traffic at all times.

Poor visibility

Walking at night puts pedestrians at risk of accidents due to poor visibility. Wear reflective, light-colored clothing or safety strobe lights when walking at night. Improved visibility reduces the risk of accidents.

A pedestrian accident can lead to serious injuries and long-term consequences. Recognizing common causes can ensure that you are safer and more attentive on the road both as a driver and as a pedestrian.