Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

Walking is a common mode of transportation, whether for leisure, exercise, or commuting purposes. Despite its prevalence, however, pedestrians face significant risks on the roads. Pedestrian accidents can result in severe injuries and even fatalities, highlighting the importance of understanding their common causes to prevent them. Here are some typical examples: 


1. Distracted Driving

One of the foremost factors leading to pedestrian accidents is distracted driving. With the widespread use of smartphones and other electronic devices, drivers often become distracted, diverting their attention from the road. Texting, talking on the phone, adjusting GPS systems, and even eating while driving are common distractions that can lead to accidents involving pedestrians.


2. Failure to Yield

Pedestrians generally have the right of way in crosswalks and at intersections. Unfortunately, not all drivers adhere to this rule. Failure to yield to pedestrians when required, especially at marked crosswalks, significantly increases the risk of accidents. Whether due to impatience, ignorance of traffic laws, or reckless driving behavior, drivers who fail to yield put pedestrians in harm’s way.


3. Speeding

Excessive speed is a significant contributing factor to pedestrian accidents. When drivers exceed the posted speed limit, they have less time to react to unexpected situations, such as pedestrians crossing the street. High speeds also increase the severity of injuries in the event of a collision, as the force of impact is greater. Speeding in residential areas, school zones, and areas with high pedestrian traffic poses an elevated risk to pedestrians.


4. Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs remains a prevalent issue contributing to numerous pedestrian accidents each year. Impaired drivers have diminished reaction times, impaired judgment, and reduced coordination, making them more likely to strike pedestrians. Even a small amount of alcohol or drugs can impair driving abilities, highlighting the importance of never driving while intoxicated.


5. Poor Visibility

Limited visibility conditions, such as darkness, fog, rain, or snow, pose additional risks to pedestrians. Reduced visibility makes it challenging for drivers to see pedestrians, especially if they are not wearing reflective clothing or are crossing the road in poorly lit areas. Pedestrians should take precautions to enhance their visibility, such as wearing bright or reflective clothing and using flashlights or reflective accessories when walking in low-light conditions.


6. Jaywalking

While pedestrians have the right of way in designated crosswalks, jaywalking remains a common issue contributing to pedestrian accidents. Jaywalking occurs when pedestrians cross the street outside of designated crosswalks or against traffic signals. This behavior increases the likelihood of collisions with vehicles, as drivers may not anticipate pedestrians crossing the road unexpectedly.


7. Inadequate Infrastructure

Poorly designed or maintained infrastructure can also contribute to pedestrian accidents. Lack of sidewalks, poorly marked crosswalks, inadequate lighting, and unsafe pedestrian crossings create hazardous conditions for pedestrians. Municipalities and transportation authorities must invest in infrastructure improvements to enhance pedestrian safety and reduce the risk of accidents.


8. Drowsy Driving

Fatigued or drowsy driving is another significant factor contributing to pedestrian accidents. Drivers who are tired have impaired concentration, slower reaction times, and decreased awareness of their surroundings, increasing the risk of collisions with pedestrians. Long hours behind the wheel, irregular sleep patterns, and untreated sleep disorders are common contributors to drowsy driving.



Pedestrian accidents are often preventable, and understanding their common causes is essential for improving road safety. By addressing issues such as those stated above, we can work towards creating safer environments for pedestrians. Whether you’re a pedestrian or a driver, practicing vigilance, adhering to traffic laws, and prioritizing safety can help reduce the incidence of pedestrian accidents and save lives. 


If you or someone you know has been injured in a pedestrian accident due to the negligence of a driver, Vames, Wang & Sosa Injury Lawyers are here to help. Our dedicated team is experienced in handling personal injury accidents, including pedestrian collisions. Call us today at 503-669-3426 for a free consultation to discuss your case and learn how we can assist you in navigating the legal process and securing the best possible outcome.

Emery Wang

Emery Wang

Emery Wang has been a lawyer in Oregon since 2009. While attending Lewis & Clark law school, Emery worked as a Multnomah County District Attorney, and since then has been a full time personal injury lawyer.

Vames, Wang & Sosa Injury Lawyers focus on vehicle crashes, personal injury, and first-party car accident insurance claims. They have offices located in Gresham and Hillsboro.

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