Be Careful, Austin Pedestrians: Night Hours Can Be Especially Hazardous

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When you experience summer heat like we do in Texas, spending time outside in the cooler night hours is one way to beat the heat. In a city like Austin, many people choose to enjoy the night air by walking to their destinations.

Maybe you go out to a restaurant or a concert, or maybe you just take a stroll around the block; in any case, a walk at night can be a great way to enjoy the cooler hours during summer.

Unfortunately, statistics show that nighttime can be especially dangerous for pedestrians, particularly in cities like Austin where the population is more than 500,000 people.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 32 percent of pedestrian fatalities in 2012 were due to collisions that happened between 8 p.m. and 12 midnight. Now compare that with the hours of 8 a.m. to 12 noon, when less than 10 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred.

It should be noted, too, that alcohol was reportedly involved in 48 percent of all fatal pedestrian accidents that same year.

Motorists have a duty of care to pedestrians, so what should drivers do to prevent pedestrian accidents?

The NHTSA recommends the following:

  • Always watch out for pedestrians, and be especially cautious at night or in bad weather when visibility may be limited.
  • When preparing to turn into or enter a crosswalk, slow down and always be prepared to stop.
  • When stopped at a crosswalk, remain far enough back so that other drivers can see the pedestrians who are crossing.
  • Never pass other vehicles that are already stopped at a crosswalk. The vehicles are stopped for a reason -- to let pedestrians cross.
  • Abide by slower speed limits where children are present, such as in school zones.
  • Always avoid distracted driving and driving while intoxicated.

These may be fairly obvious guidelines for many of us, but each year pedestrians in Texas suffer serious personal injury because of driver negligence. Among all crash victims, pedestrians face the highest risk of severe injury in collisions with motor vehicles.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, then don't hesitate to speak with a personal injury attorney. For more on this, please see our previous post, "How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?"

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