It’s every driver’s worst nightmare. You’re driving along, it’s another normal day and then all of sudden you’ve hit something. To your horror you find you’ve knocked down a pedestrian.

Both drivers and pedestrians can play a part in preventing pedestrian accidents.

Much of the time accidents are caused by negligent drivers, but in some instances pedestrians can be to blame.

To reduce the risk of accidents, both drivers and pedestrians can play their part.

Drivers: be pedestrian aware

Drivers play a fundamental role in pedestrian safety. Remember when you were learning to drive and the instructor encouraged you to be aware of what was going on around you? Keep an eye out for cyclists or pedestrians crossing the road, particularly from between parked vehicles.

Motorists should also make sure to leave enough space between themselves and cyclists or pedestrians. It can be intimidating and distracting for cyclists when cars don’t allow enough space.

Most pedestrian and bicycle accidents occur at junctions, so be particularly careful when approaching these and remember to look both ways to minimise the risk of an accident.

It only takes that split second to cause an accident and it’s easy to misjudge, so if you’re not 100% sure, be patient and wait until it’s completely safe.

Tips for pedestrians and cyclists

Pedestrians: if you’re out about remember to pay attention to the traffic and never compromise your safety by taking risks.

If you need to cross the road, always use designated crossings where possible rather than risking life and limb by diving out in front of oncoming cars. If the driver is fiddling with their radio or momentarily distracted, they may not see you and could fail to slow down in time.

If there are no pavements, forcing you to walk on the road, always walk facing oncoming traffic to increase visibility. You should also wear a high visibility jacket especially during evenings or as winter approaches to give you the best chance of being seen.

Take care in bad weather as rain can make pavements – and fallen leaves in autumn – slippery and incredibly dangerous.

Many people like to listen to music and use their phone while out walking. There is nothing wrong with this as long as you stay alert. If your gadgets distract you to the point of comprising your safety then it’s time to re-think – is it worth it?

Cyclists should be equally careful and one way to do this is always follow the rules of the road and adhere to all signs and signals – they’re there for a reason. If there are designated cycle lanes, use them to reduce the risk of accidents.

All road users, including pedestrians, are protected in law to ensure their safety on our roads. If an accident wasn’t your fault and we can prove you were injured because of the negligence of someone else or that blame does lie elsewhere, we’ll pursue a personal injury claim on your behalf.