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Pedestrians are More at Risk During the Winter Season

April 01, 2021

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

On New Year’s Eve, a man was fatally struck by a vehicle in East Donegal Township while he worked for Eagle Disposal Trash Company. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The story is one of many that have occurred around Pennsylvania in the last few weeks and sadly, the state will likely see more of these incidents in the coming weeks. As the snow and ice accumulate, pedestrians are at great risk of becoming involved in an accident. During this time of year, it is more important than ever for pedestrians to practice extra caution when they are out on the roads.

Why are Pedestrians More at Risk During Winter?

Pedestrians always assume some degree of risk when they are out walking. However, ice and snow on the roads and sidewalks drastically increases the chance that a pedestrian will become involved in an accident.

The winter season creates several additional hazards for drivers. Black ice may form on the roads that causes them to lose control of their vehicles. While this puts the driver and passengers at risk, the vehicle may also swerve onto a sidewalk or into a crosswalk a pedestrian is using to legally cross the road. Even in these situations, drivers are expected to know how to operate a vehicle safely in winter conditions. When they cannot, they are negligent and can be held liable.

Pedestrians also face several different obstacles during the winter. Snow plows create large snow banks that pedestrians cannot always see around when they are trying to cross streets. When property owners have not properly cleared their premises of snow or ice, pedestrians may also slip and fall. To avoid this, someone on foot may choose to walk in a plowed street, where a vehicle can strike them.

How to Avoid a Pedestrian Accident in the Winter

While drivers can be held liable when they cause a pedestrian accident, so too, can those on foot if they contributed to the crash. As such, it is imperative that pedestrians take all proper safety precautions to avoid an accident. The best safety tips are as follows:

  • Do not allow your cell phone to become a distraction while you are walking.
  • Follow all of the state’s pedestrian laws, including walking on the sidewalk whenever possible.
  • Wear brightly colored clothing to make yourself more visible to drivers.
  • Always wear appropriate footwear that has soles with a good grip and high ankles.
  • Give yourself extra time so you do not have to rush, which could place you at risk for a slip and fall.
  • Avoid carrying heavy items that could throw you off balance while walking.
  • Use intersections and crosswalks when crossing the street.

Sadly, even when following these tips, you may be involved in a pedestrian accident. If that is the case, you should speak to a personal injury lawyer.

Our Pennsylvania Personal Injury Lawyers Want to Help with Your Case

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a pedestrian accident, call our Allentown personal injury lawyers at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim today. We know how to investigate these accident cases and collect evidence to help you recover the fair settlement you deserve. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with one of our skilled attorneys.



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