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aerial view of an suv driving through a pedestrian crossing while it snows

Cold temperatures, icy roads, earlier sunsets — all hallmark signs that winter is here, but they also signal an increased danger for pedestrians. Winter months can be dangerous for Virginians who walk, run, or bike outdoors. Virginia has a pedestrian fatality rate of 1.42 per 100,000 people. Last year, there were 1,476 pedestrian crashes in Virginia — a 5.5% increase from 2021. These crashes are mostly preventable, but unfortunately, thousands of pedestrians around the country die in car accidents every year. With the arrival of winter months, pedestrians should be mindful of the increased risk of being hit by a motor vehicle. Road conditions are less optimal, making it more dangerous for pedestrians.

Pedestrian Accident Statistics

Both state and federal data give us more information about where pedestrian accidents happen, which factors contribute, and how many people are affected every year. Knowing these statistics gives us information that can help reduce winter pedestrian accidents in Virginia.

  • In 2022, at least 7,508 pedestrians were killed in accidents nationwide
  • Washington, D.C., has the most significant percentage point difference for pedestrian crashes in winter vs. non-winter months
  • More than 2,000 Virginia pedestrians were injured or killed in crashes in 2022
  • Virginia pedestrian fatalities that involve drinking peak in January and March 
  • Crashes involving pedestrians most commonly happen between 9 and 11:59 p.m.
  • Fairfax County saw the most Virginia car crashes in 2022
  • There were 1,163 car crashes in Alexandria City last year, some of which involved pedestrians

The most common causes of pedestrian fatalities were crossing the street without using intersections in urban areas and walking in the roadway in the same direction as traffic. Standing in the road accounted for nearly 9% of Virginia pedestrian deaths. 

Winter Pedestrian Safety Tips 

Pedestrians can’t avoid every hazard on the road, but there are steps they can take to lessen the risk of a dangerous crash. These safety tips can help pedestrians stay safe on the road by doing everything in their power to eliminate potential hazards.

Use Crosswalks

It can be tempting to run across the street when traffic is clear instead of walking to an intersection and using a crosswalk. But vehicles can come speeding out of nowhere, and crossing the street when you don’t have the right-of-way can quickly turn deadly. Additionally, it can be easy to slip on icy roads if you’re rushing.

Wear Bright Clothing or Reflective Materials

The sun sets earlier during winter, and pedestrians accustomed to daylight may suddenly have to walk in the dark. Wearing dark clothing can make it harder for drivers to see pedestrians, so wearing brighter attire is one way to stay safe. You could also wear a reflective vest or jacket to maximize visibility. 

Stay Alert

One of the most significant risks to pedestrians isn’t an external one. Distractions make it easy for pedestrians to lose awareness of their surroundings, and activities like listening to music with headphones, scrolling social media, and making phone calls aren’t just a bad idea for car drivers. They can easily make it hard for pedestrians to monitor potential threats.

Pedestrian Injuries

Even if pedestrians do everything right, they may still be in a traffic accident because of a driver’s negligence. Thousands of people lose their lives or suffer catastrophic injuries as a result of these collisions every year. Common pedestrian crash injuries include broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, strains and sprains, spinal cord injuries, and soft tissue damage. A pedestrian’s life can change instantly through no fault of their own. These injuries may make returning to work, hobbies, and everyday life impossible. After a pedestrian crash, you should contact a pedestrian accident lawyer to learn more about the compensation you may be eligible for and your legal options.

Finding A Virginia Pedestrian Accident Attorney

A car crash can devastate your life in a matter of seconds. You may wonder how you will recover fully as you heal from your injuries. While a lawsuit can’t immediately return you to normal health, it can give you the compensation you need to move forward. An attorney can investigate the pedestrian accident to determine liability. Your top priority after an accident should be seeking medical attention, documenting injuries, and calling a Virginia pedestrian accident attorney. If you’ve been involved in a D.C. or Virginia pedestrian accident, call or text Curcio Law at 703-836-3366 for a free consultation

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