Pedestrian Safety in Washington, D.C.

Pedestrian cross path.
Some roadways are especially dangerous for pedestrians. This includes those at intersections where vehicles, walkers and bicyclists converge.

How to Be Safe When Walking

With accidents involving walkers escalating nationally, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrian safety efforts are essential. This is caused in part by an increase in both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Other reasons as we shall see are due to driver distraction and reckless behavior. 

Improving Pedestrian Safety One Street at a Time

Some roadways are especially dangerous for pedestrians. This includes those at intersections where vehicles, walkers and bicyclists converge. Intersections also have a significant problem with red-light runners or those who sail through a stop sign without looking. If a pedestrian is in a crosswalk when this happens, the likelihood of a catastrophic accident is high. So, how do pedestrians protect themselves?

Increase Visibility

The number one pedestrian safety effort is aimed at being seen. Lack of conspicuity occurs mostly in the evening hours and after dark. Because of this, it is important for the pedestrian and the driver to take special precautions. Pedestrians should always wear light-colored clothing at night or use reflective tape so they are visible. Drivers need to slow down and make an effort to see walkers in their path. This not only helps the driver see the walker but it makes it easier to stop in time to avoid hitting them. 

City Responsibility in a Pedestrian Accident

Aside from pedestrians and drivers making an effort to increase safe travel at night, it is incumbent on the city to make a similar effort. That means the government agency in charge of road maintenance and safety must ensure that crosswalks are well lit by replacing burned-out street lamps and putting more lights in crosswalks. Additionally, the city must make sure the timing apparatus on pedestrian traffic signals are properly adjusted. 

Are Certain Days of the Week More Dangerous for Pedestrian Safety?

Yes, certain days are worse for pedestrians. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays carry this distinction. That is because more drunk and distracted drivers are out and about these days. Tuesday and Wednesday are the safest days for walkers. 

Are Distractions a Problem for Pedestrian Safety?

Absolutely, distractions are a huge problem. When drivers focus on electronic devices in their vehicle, text or talk on the phone, it is easy for them to miss seeing what is right in front of them. Pedestrians have a similar problem since they rely on paying attention to their surroundings to stay safe. Talking on the phone or listening to music with both ears means they will miss hearing a car coming.

Speeding Is a Problem for Pedestrian Safety

A driver who is traveling at a higher speed is more likely to cause serious injury to a pedestrian or kill them upon impact. For example, a car traveling at 15 mph will most likely cause minor injuries if it strikes a pedestrian. Alternately, one traveling 45 mph upon impact may cause a pedestrian fatality.

Drinking Is a Major Problem

Both pedestrians and drivers who drink while or immediately before heading out on the road are more likely to be involved in a pedestrian accident. Drinking interferes with cognitive thought, dampens reflexes and makes it difficult to exert control over their movement. 

Roeser Law Firm

At the Roeser Law Firm, we make every effort to help with pedestrian safety. However, if you are involved in a pedestrian accident, contact us to see how you can obtain the compensation you deserve. Call us at (202) 660-4070 to schedule a free case review. We will investigate your accident, answer your questions and give you an idea of what to expect going forward. If it is easier for you, contact us online.

Zeke Roeser


3000 Connecticut Avenue NW
Suite 140
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 660-4070