Autumn is a beautiful time of year, but it brings inclement weather and shorter days. Unfortunately, these conditions can increase pedestrian-related traffic accidents in Georgia and elsewhere. To help reduce the risk of pedestrian injuries and fatalities, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has named October National Pedestrian Safety Month.

Pedestrian safety tips

The goals of the initiative are to raise awareness about the issue, promote safety and prevent crashes in local communities. The NHTSA focused especially on driving habits that endanger pedestrians, promoting the cause through social media and other means.

According to the NHTSA statistics, 6,283 pedestrians died in traffic accidents nationwide in 2018, accounting for 17% of all traffic deaths that year. That number calculates to one pedestrian fatality every 84 minutes.

Pedestrian accidents can occur anywhere people and motor vehicles have the potential to encounter each other, including crosswalks, roadways, sidewalks and parking lots. Here are some basic safety tips that can help protect pedestrians:

• Obey signs and signals
• Use sidewalks whenever possible
• Walk facing traffic when sidewalks are unavailable
• Remain alert at all times
• Use crosswalks
• Wear bright clothing during the day and reflective clothing at night
• Lookout for cars backing out of driveways or parking spaces
• Avoid drinking or using drugs before going on a walk

Legal help for victims of pedestrian accidents

Pedestrians who are injured in motor vehicle accidents might be owed compensation for a variety damages, including pain and suffering, medical bills and lost wages. A personal injury attorney could help a victim gather key evidence supporting a claim and work to negotiate a fair settlement on his or her behalf. If a settlement cannot be reached, legal counsel could fight for the victim’s rights in a court of law.