Are Pedestrians More Likely to Get Hit by a Car in Winter?

man walking on crosswalk in snowPedestrian accidents can happen at any time of year, but there may be a higher risk in the wintertime. Many drivers do not take extra precautions to deal with reduced visibility, slippery roads and other factors that make winter driving dangerous.

This blog details the reasons why pedestrian crashes are more likely in the winter. It also explains the types of pedestrian crashes that occur during this time of year and how pedestrians can reduce their risk of getting hit by a car.

At Greg Monforton and Partners, our Windsor auto accident lawyers are committed to providing vehicle crash victims with the necessary information and support to navigate the legal process. For more than 40 years, we have been securing compensation for our clients at no upfront cost.

Schedule a free legal consultation to learn more. Phone: (866) 320-4770.

Why Pedestrians Are More at Risk of a Crash in Winter

Winter brings a unique set of problems that significantly increase the risk of getting hit by a car:

  • Reduced visibility: Shorter days and longer nights mean that pedestrians are more likely to be walking in low-light conditions. Snowfall and fog also make it harder for drivers to spot pedestrians.
  • Slippery conditions: Ice and snow on roads and sidewalks makes it harder to maintain your footing while walking. Ice and snow also make it harder for vehicles to slow down and stop. Slippery conditions can make it harder for pedestrians to move away from danger. They might even slip and fall while crossing the street or fall onto the street while walking on the sidewalk.
  • Distraction from cold: Cold weather is distracting because it makes people uncomfortable. This means pedestrians may not be paying full attention to their surroundings or to where they are walking. Similarly, drivers may be distracted by fiddling with the dashboard to turn up the heat or defrost their windows. It is also possible that pedestrians will be in a hurry to cross the street, and they may fail to check for oncoming traffic.
  • Reckless drivers: Drivers have a legal obligation to account for the weather when operating their cars. This means slowing down to account for reduced visibility and increased stopping distance. Unfortunately, many drivers behave the same way regardless of the weather.

Types of Pedestrian Collisions Likely in Winter

Winter conditions can contribute to specific types of pedestrian collisions, including:

  • Crosswalk slips: Pedestrians may slip and fall into the path of oncoming traffic while navigating icy crosswalks.
  • Corner sliding: Vehicles struggling to stop or turn at intersections may slide into pedestrians waiting to cross or already in the crosswalk.
  • Parking lot crashes: Drivers routinely speed and do not pay attention in parking lots, no matter what time of year it is. Reduced visibility can make it harder to see pedestrians, especially when backing out of a parking spot. Pedestrians may also be paying less attention because they feel cold and this can distract them.
  • Reduced reaction time collisions: Both pedestrians and drivers have reduced reaction times due to the cold, leading to accidents that might have been avoidable in warmer conditions. This includes rear-end collisions, such as those that occur at traffic lights, stop signs or in stop-and-go traffic. There may also be a higher risk of intersection collisions, such as if a driver runs a red light. Oncoming drivers might not be able to stop to avoid a collision. In the warmer months of the year, oncoming drivers may have a better chance to avoid a crash.
  • Crashes near public transit stops: Pedestrians who gather near bus stops need to be careful about slipping. Sometimes there is a significant accumulation of snow and ice in these areas. Sometimes pedestrians are in a hurry to make it to a bus stop, and this can tempt them to cross the street at the wrong time.

Liability for Pedestrian Collisions

Determining liability in pedestrian collisions involves understanding the duty of care owed by both drivers and pedestrians. In winter, the expectation for drivers to exercise greater caution is heightened, given the adverse conditions. However, pedestrians also have a responsibility to ensure they are visible, adhere to traffic signals, and avoid unnecessary risks.

That said, when a pedestrian gets hit by a car, insurance companies are going to presume the driver is at fault. Typically, pedestrians only need to prove they were involved in a collision and the collision caused them to suffer an injury.

However, each case is unique and victims who hire a lawyer often recover more compensation than those who do not. This is particularly true when you call an experienced lawyer.

How Pedestrians Can Reduce Their Risk of a Car Crash

While the risks are higher in winter, there are measures pedestrians can take to reduce the likelihood of being involved in a collision:

  • Increase visibility: Wear reflective clothing or carry a light when walking in the dark. This simple measure can significantly improve a driver’s ability to see you from a distance.
  • Choose your path wisely: Opt for routes that are well-lit and have sidewalks that are cleared of snow and ice. Avoid jaywalking or crossing roads at unmarked spots, especially in poor visibility.
  • Stay alert: Avoid distractions such as using your phone or wearing headphones while walking. Your ability to hear approaching vehicles or warning sounds is crucial.
  • Understand and anticipate driver challenges: Recognize that drivers may have difficulty stopping or seeing you, especially when the weather affects road conditions. Make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them and wait for vehicles to come to a complete stop.

Winter in Windsor does not have to be a perilous time for pedestrians. By understanding the risks, taking proactive steps to minimize them and knowing your legal rights, you can navigate the season safely.

Injured by a Reckless Driver: Call Greg Monforton and Partners

If you or a loved one has been affected by a pedestrian collision, our team of dedicated legal professionals is here to guide you through every step of the legal process. We understand the physical, emotional and financial toll an accident can take, and we are committed to securing the compensation you need to support your recovery.

Should you find yourself in need of legal assistance, remember that knowledge, caution and the right legal team can make all the difference. Stay safe, stay informed, and do not hesitate to reach out to Greg Monforton and Partners for support and guidance.

Free legal consultation and no upfront costs. Call us today: (866) 320-4770.