Why pedestrian accidents are so deadly, and how to prevent them

People who live in walkable areas of New Jersey enjoy the benefits of exercise and lower vehicle expenses that come with going places on foot. However, they are also more vulnerable to serious injuries and fatalities in a traffic accident. 

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, usually in a vehicle-pedestrian collision, the front of the vehicle strikes the pedestrian. Adults are most likely to be struck at the knee by a car's bumper, and the hood's front edge typically strikes the thigh. If the car is going faster than about 12 mph, victims also may suffer injuries by sliding up the hood and striking the windshield.

When the vehicle is an SUV or pickup truck, there is a much higher risk of a fatality because the impact is higher on the body, and the force of it will probably throw the person forward onto the street. A car may have the same effect if it strikes a child, hitting the thigh and torso and throwing the child to the ground in front of the vehicle.

The National Safety Council warns pedestrians not to trust that a car will stop just because they are crossing legally in a crosswalk. It is best to make eye contact with the driver, if possible, before stepping into the street. To increase visibility, pedestrians can cross the street in groups, wear bright clothing and avoid vehicle blind spots. Wearing headphones can raise the risk of a serious accident, as can looking at a cellphone while walking. Constant vigilance is necessary any time a person needs to share the road with traffic.

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