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How to prevent pedestrian-vehicle accidents in urban areas

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the majority of fatal pedestrian-vehicle accidents occur in urban areas at night. Now that we're in the time of the year when there's a lot more darkness than daylight, this is a good time to review some tips that can help avoid a tragic accident.

A pedestrian is killed in a traffic accident, on average, every 1.6 hours. That amounts to more than 5,000 deaths per year. Another 129,000 pedestrians end up injured. To avoid ending up part of that statistic, here are the things you should do when you're walking in the city:

  • Use crosswalks. It's a simple thing, but it saves lives. The CDC says that the majority of deaths occur at "non-intersection locations." Jaywalking always puts you at risk because you simply can't rely on drivers to notice you in time to stop.
  • Don't get distracted. "Distracted walking" is a big problem for pedestrians, much the same way that distracted driving is for drivers. In fact, nearly 4 out of 10 people admit they've seen an incident of distracted walking in person. Keep your eyes off your mobile phone while you're on the move. If you have headphones on in order to listen to music, put just one earpiece in and leave the other ear free so you can listen for traffic.
  • Wear reflective clothing. If you have to wait on a bus after work in the dark or will be walking home, make sure that you can be seen by drivers. Bright colors and whites can help you remain visible, even in the dark. A few pieces of reflective tape on your shoes, jacket and hat could save your life.

All the precautions in the world won't help, however, if a driver is simply negligent. Inattentive and inebriated drivers abound on the city streets -- and you could fall victim to one of them even if you're doing your part to prevent accidents.

If you end up with serious injuries from a collision with a car, make sure that you weigh all your legal choices as you recover.

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