Increased Risk For Pedestrians as Cars Get Back on the Road

social distancing while walkingPedestrian deaths from traffic accidents in Tennessee and across the country have increased steadily since 2009 and it is a trend that does not seem to be decreasing, even with the emptier roads due to the pandemic.

As states begin to reopen and more people begin driving again, pedestrians who have become used to walking on the emptier roads may be at an increased risk for traffic injuries. After weeks of not driving, motorists are also affected and may be more likely to be in an accident involving a pedestrian.

The attorneys at Greg Coleman Law issue an important reminder about being more alert behind the wheel, giving yourself more time to get to where you are going, and how pedestrians can also help contribute to road safety.

Why There is an Increased Risk For Pedestrian Accidents

During the pandemic, although there has been a significant drop-off in traffic, there has been an escalation of motorists who have used the emptier roads as an opportunity to speed and drive more recklessly. The result of this trend is nearly as many traffic fatalities as last year during the same time period. According to Knox news, traffic fatalities in March were up 18.5 percent, and an analysis conducted by the National Safety Council revealed a 14 percent increase in traffic fatalities per mile driven during the same time last year.

In addition to these disturbing statistics, there are more pedestrians who have gotten used to walking in the roads to help maintain social distancing. After so many weeks of sheltering-in-place, pedestrians may not be as alert to motorists being back on the road.

Pedestrians may also be at an increased risk of being hit by motorists who may be:

  • Anxious or non-attentive the first few times they get back behind the wheel
  • More apt to fiddle with car controls that seem unfamiliar after weeks of non-use
  • Easily distracted by their cellphone, traffic or passengers
  • Reckless or taking advantage of the emptier roads to participate in illegal drag racing
  • Driving while impaired by fatigue, alcohol or drugs
  • More impatient or predisposed to road rage after being cooped up for weeks

Safety Everyone Can Benefit From

As traffic slowly amps back up to normal volumes, both motorists and pedestrians will be key in contributing to road safety. Here are some tips from Greg Coleman Law that we can all benefit from:

Before You Drive For the First Time

If you have not driven your car in weeks, it is a good idea to check out the basics, such as tires, car lights, brakes, fluid levels, gas tank and battery to make sure you are not hit with a nasty surprise (like a flat tire) out on the road. It is also a good idea to check under the hood, in your car grill and other hideaway spots for debris, as well as critters and their nests.

Back On the Road

  • Allow more time to get to your destination
  • Remind yourself of common driving practices, such as checking your side and rearview mirrors before turning, merging or braking.
  • Be extra diligent to watch for pedestrians and cyclists, especially when light is not optimal (bright sunlight, dusk, dawn, nighttime)
  • Turn your phone off to avoid the temptation of answering calls, texts or emails
  • Set your GPS before you leave the house to reduce the need to tamper with it while driving
  • Lower the volume of your music
  • Initially avoid congested traffic areas
  • Check before driving to see if the pandemic affected or rerouted any roads you often drive
  • Be more patient and purposely focused. Weeks of being home and cooped up could make you more apt to be easily distracted or quick to react negatively
  • Remember that pedestrians may be less alert after weeks of walking in the empty roads
  • Follow all safe driving laws, including not driving while impaired by fatigue, drugs or alcohol


Remember that drivers may not always be watching for you, so be a proactive advocate for your own safety and:

  • Being aware and alert while you are walking
  • Avoid walking in the roads, remembering that electric and hybrid cars may be difficult to hear
  • Look both ways before crossing any road, even those with crosswalks
  • Wear light or reflective clothing at dawn, dusk or night, when it is more difficult to see
  • Be mindful that bright sunlight or inclement weather can also impair a driver’s vision
  • Do not walk while under the influence of alcohol or drugs as you will be less aware of traffic around you
  • Avoid talking on your cellphone while walking as it can distract you from other dangers

Contact an Attorney For Legal Help With Your Claim

At Greg Coleman Law, we are committed to road safety in our community and beyond. If you are injured by a negligent driver, we are prepared to help.

Call our firm anytime, day or night, to arrange for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our Knoxville car accident lawyers. In this free claim review, we can discuss the circumstances of the accident that caused your injuries and your potential legal options. If we represent you, we only charge for our services if we achieve a recovery on your behalf.

Call Greg Coleman Law for legal help today: (865) 247-0080