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Are pedestrians at a high risk of injury when walking?

Pedestrian safety is a major concern, and with 4,735 people killed in 2013 due to traffic crashes, it can't be understated. One crash-related pedestrian death happens every two hours in the United States.

The impact of these crashes results in thousands of dollars spent annually; over 150,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for non-fatal injuries from pedestrian crashes in 2013. These people may have gone on to miss work or require additional support like state benefits while they recovered, costing the state, their employers and themselves a significant amount of money.

Preventing pedestrian accidents is possible, and it comes down to acting in a safe manner. If you're walking home or to work at night, make sure you do everything you can to be as visible as possible. You should walk toward traffic, wear bright or reflective clothing and use a flashlight. Only cross the street when you are at a designated crosswalk or intersection. If you must cross elsewhere, look and listen for traffic and be cautious upon crossing.

If there is no pathway or sidewalk, stay as far away from the road as possible while walking in the shoulder. Always walk toward traffic, so you can see oncoming traffic and get out of the way if necessary.

If you are struck, remain at the scene, even if you only suffered minor injuries. It's wise to get the insurance information for the driver of the vehicle as well as the license plate if possible. You should go to the hospital, even if you don't feel like you've suffered an injury, because adrenaline can reduce pain and prevent shock from setting in. You can discuss your case with your attorney later, after you've had time to recover.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Pedestrian Safety," accessed Jan. 24, 2017

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