The beginning of the fall semester at West Virginia University brings about a huge increase in both pedestrian and vehicle traffic on its main and sub-campuses. Drivers and pedestrians have to be extra conscious and watchful of one another, especially around campus.

In 2016, approximately 6,000 pedestrians throughout the United States died as a result of getting struck by a vehicle. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a pedestrian is killed by a vehicle in this country roughly every 1.5 hours. Pedestrians are about 1.5 times more likely to die in a crash than those inside of a vehicle.

A pedestrian suffers injuries resulting from a car accident every eight minutes.

Moreover, in 2015, as per the CDC, almost 50% of fatal accidents with pedestrians also involved driving under the influence of alcohol or drunkenness on the pedestrian’s part.

Drivers, as well as pedestrians, should review the following guidelines to ensure that they are not involved in a pedestrian-vehicle accident on any of WVU’s campuses. 

Important Safety Advice for Pedestrians

  • Avoid using smartphones: While walking around campus, it is important for pedestrians to put their smartphones and other electronic gadgets away.This allows pedestrians to pay attention to their surroundings, lookout for cars, bicycles and all other possible dangers.
  • Takeoff your earbuds or headphones: Pedestrians must be on the lookout at all times. In order to arrive safely at their destinations, pedestrians have to employ all of their senses in order to circumvent any possible hazards. Wearing headphones can stop pedestrians from hearing oncoming vehicles, the sirens of emergency vehicles, and drivers beeping their horns. If pedestrians cannot resist the urge to listen to music, make sure the volume is low enough to hear passing cars. Lastly, avoid noise cancelling headphones at all costs. 
  • Make sure drivers can anticipate your moves: Pedestrians should be predictable in the sense that they obey the rules on campus and follow all traffic signals and signs.
  • Ensure to cross at the crosswalk: Before crossing the street always be sure to look for vehicles in both directions. Never cross in front of vehicles that are still moving and assume the driver will stop for you. Always wait for the vehicle to come to a complete stop before walking into the street.
  • Walk on sidewalks: Whenever sidewalks are accessible, use them. If there are multiple routes, take the route with sidewalks available. In cases where sidewalks are absent and pedestrians must walk in the street, they should make sure to walk facing oncoming traffic.
  • Never jaywalk: If a crosswalk is not available, do not just cross the street anywhere or at a slant. Choose a safe place to cross that is far away from intersections and curves in the road. Ensure that you have sufficient time to cross the street safely. Also, do not just assume a driver will see you. Make eye contact with drivers before walking in front of their vehicles.

Important Safety Advice for Drivers

  • Constantly be on the lookout for pedestrians: Drivers should always watch out for pedestrians and be ready to yield or stop whenever necessary.
  • Do not pass: Never pass other vehicles that are stopped or slowing down at crosswalks.
  • Obey the speed limit: Drivers should pay attention to their speed, particularly in areas with lots of pedestrians. While speeding, drivers do not have as much reaction time for any unexpected pedestrians crossing the street. Drivers should avoid speeding in order to keep from harming themselves, other drivers, or pedestrians.
  • Be especially careful when in reverse: Drivers need to be extra careful when backing up and watch out for pedestrians who may walk into their vehicle’s path.
  • Exercise extra caution at night: Drivers should be especially vigilant when driving around campus during the night or early morning.
  • Use caution during incremental weather conditions: Motorists need to drive cautiously in the rain, snow, or in icy conditions. It is especially easy for drivers to lose control of their vehicles when weather conditions are bad.
  • Avoid using a cellphone and other distractions: The most common factor in every car accident involving pedestrians is distracted or inattentive driving. Cell Phone use while driving diverts the attention of drivers. Cell phones are commonly thought to be the biggest distraction of all. Further, having conversations with passengers, eating food, drinking beverages, putting on makeup, or even switching radio stations are all regular distractions for drivers. It is important for drivers to stay focused on the road and keep their hands on the steering wheel.
  • Drinking and driving: Drinking and driving is against the law because it is a terrible combination. Alcohol seriously impairs a driver’s reaction time, eye movement, coordination, and perception. If you drank more than the legal limit, do not drive under any circumstances.
  • Do not drive when tired: Most car accidents involving fatigued drivers happen between 11pm and 8 am. If you begin to feel sleepy while driving, you should pull into a campus parking lot and rest.
  • Always yield at crosswalks: Motorists must yield to all pedestrians at crosswalks and make sure to stop completely well in advance of the crosswalk. Although pedestrians might not always specify their intentions to cross the street, they still have the right of way. Although pedestrians have the right of way at all crosswalks, pedestrian accidents with vehicles frequently happen. Research implies that pedestrians often have a false sense of security when using a crosswalk. Pedestrians typically walk into the crosswalk and assume all oncoming vehicles will automatically stop. Nevertheless, drivers occasionally do not stop. Despite the law providing pedestrians the right of way, while walking in crosswalks, it does not lessen pedestrians need to use good judgment and due care to ensure their safety.

West Virginia University Police and The Office of Emergency Management make a solid effort to mitigate pedestrian-vehicle accidents. 

Officers are always watching out for erratic and hazardous drivers. Both drivers and pedestrians need to work together to make WVU a safe community for everyone. 

Anyone who is involved or witnesses an accident involving a vehicle and pedestrian should call the campus police at (304) 293-3126.

Contact a West Virginia Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries resulting from a pedestrian-vehicle accident on one of West Virginia University’s campuses, you want West Virginia’s most experienced personal injury attorneys to represent you.  

At Goddard & Wagoner, LLC, we are all too aware of the pain and suffering that pedestrian accident victims can suffer.

Our personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not owe us anything until we win or settle your claim.

With over 20 years of combined legal experience and millions of dollars recovered on behalf of our clients, you can count on us to tenaciously, aggressively, and diligently fight to ensure the compensation to which you or your loved one is entitled. 

When you want the best possible outcome in your lawsuit, you should call Goddard & Wagoner, LLC. 

To learn more how our Morgantown attorneys can assist you, call (304) 584-1311 today, or contact us online for a complimentary consultation concerning your pedestrian-vehicle crash.