When we are young, we are told to look both ways before crossing the street. This is for good reason; pedestrian accidents often result in serious injuries.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WI DOT) reports that 1,239 pedestrian accidents occurred in Wisconsin in 2010. Those accidents resulted in 54 pedestrian fatalities and 1,183 pedestrians being injured.

While these numbers are tragically high, the WI DOT reports that there is also good news regarding the number of pedestrian accidents in the state. Since 1990, there has been a 44 percent decrease in pedestrian injuries and a steady decrease in the number of pedestrian fatalities each year.

Car-pedestrian accidents can result in a wide range of injuries to pedestrians, from relatively minor injuries like bruises and scrapes to severe and catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and other head injuries, broken bones, spinal cord or back injuries, and paralysis. Catastrophic injuries could result in rehabilitation, expensive medical bills, or permanent assistance, including a wheelchair.

Safety Tips for Pedestrians and Drivers

While out for a walk, there are steps people can take to lessen their risk of being injured in car-pedestrian accidents. University of Wisconsin Health suggests the following safety tips:

  • Wear bright-colored clothing
  • Walk on the sidewalk
  • Cross the road at intersections or where marked
  • Be on the lookout for turning vehicles
  • Always look left, look right, and look left again before crossing the road
  • Always make sure vehicles have stopped before crossing in front of them; do this by making eye contact with the driver

Drivers should also take precautions to keep pedestrians safe. WI DOT offers the following tips to motorists:

  • Slow down to or below the posted speed limit in school zones, neighborhoods, or in areas near parks and other places kids and people may congregate
  • Expect that kids or other pedestrians will walk into traffic
  • Be on the lookout for pedestrians when making turns
  • Always yield to pedestrians in crosswalks

Due to the sheer size difference between pedestrians and vehicles, the injuries suffered during a car-pedestrian accident, even at low speeds, tend to be devastating. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a vehicle, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options for recovering compensation.