Your wife is sitting next to you in the ER waiting room. She’s holding your hand as you try to recount the night’s events to the police officer. Everything happened so fast that you can barely trust your own memory. You and your 8-year-old son were taking his puppy, Thor, for a walk before dinner. All of a sudden, he dropped the leash. You let go of your son’s hand to catch the leash, and by the time you stood up, you saw your son run into the street to block Thor.
The car came out of nowhere. Before you knew it, you heard a screech and the wrenching sounds of your son’s screams. You ran to your son, who was lying in the middle of the street, unconscious. The world stopped. You can’t remember anything after that except crying into your wife’s shoulder when she arrived at the hospital.
You’re now both waiting for your son to come out of surgery and for his doctor to tell you what his injuries are. You know he’s alive, but you’re not sure just how badly he was hurt.
What’s the worst it could be?
Pedestrian Injury Risks From Vehicular Collisions
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 70,000 pedestrians are injured and 4,500 are killed in traffic crashes each year. This means that approximately 200 people are injured or killed in a pedestrian collision every day.
Although many people believe that pedestrians always have the right of way and that the driver is automatically at fault if a walker is injured in a collision, this isn’t always the case. Even if the driver was to blame, that fault isn’t going to make your injuries heal any faster. This is why it’s important to know your risks before you take your next step.
The Centers for Disease Control estimate that pedestrians are almost twice as likely to be severely injured or killed in car crashes than vehicle passengers due to a lack of protection. Since most vehicles are surrounded by tons of metal and safety features such as airbags and seat belts, passengers are pretty well protected in a crash. However, an exposed 150-pound pedestrian is no match for the force of a 4,000 pound metal box, especially when that box is traveling at speeds above 20 mph.
Common Injuries Sustained in Pedestrian Crashes Include:
- Massive blood loss from cuts, amputations, internal bleeding, and crushing injuries
- Contusions and torn ligaments
- Broken bones and fractures of the upper and lower body, including broken ribs, pelvis, arms, legs and back
- Head, neck and brain damage (severity depends on impact force)
- Spinal injuries
- Protrusions, impalements, amputations, and crushing from metal debris
- Death as a result of head trauma, broken necks, crushing and internal trauma
As a pedestrian, you must always be alert and aware of your surroundings. Motorists can’t always keep a 360 degree view of the road and sidewalks. It’s up to you to walk safely to prevent your own tragedy. Remember, when it comes to your body versus a moving vehicle, the vehicle will win—don’t put yourself in that kind of competition.
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