What is Safer in Virginia – Walking or Driving?

By Peter DePaolis

Whether for business, pleasure, or daily life, walking and driving in Virginia are beautiful yet occasionally dangerous activities. While overall motorists are cautious and considerate, and pedestrians are aware and alert, accidents do happen and they can be devastating. 

If an accident were to happen, Virginia does have legal measures in place to help victims collect compensation for their damages, often by working with an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney. However, being aware of the risks of both can help you to make more informed decisions about how you will safely walk or drive around.

Risks of Driving

Driving is recognized as relatively safe in most situations, however, the addition of negligence can cause serious injuries. Highway driving carries a far lower risk of pedestrian interaction, though the speeds are greater and the resulting crashes can be devastating. Drivers tend to become more comfortable and relaxed while driving in environments like this.

Driving in more populated areas brings lower speeds but much more frequent interaction with pedestrians is commonplace. Pedestrians can be unpredictable. Children, in particular, tend to be impulsive and carefree, leading to potential danger if they suddenly enter traffic.

Pedestrian Risks

Walking is widely seen as an incredibly safe and healthy way to get around, especially in highly walkable cities like Arlington. Just like driving, however, being a pedestrian carries with it a unique set of risks.

Pedestrians tend to be more alert than drivers, but pedestrians also engage in risky behaviors like crossing violations. Since recent legislation banned mobile use while driving, drivers should be less distracted, but the tendency for drivers to largely overlook pedestrians remains. 

Best Ways to Avoid Injury

Most accidents and injuries are preventable and can be avoided with relative ease. Here are some tips to avoid injury while walking or driving around.

  • Be predictable, and don’t make sudden changes in direction without making sure it’s safe and signaling, if applicable
  • Never walk or drive while distracted or intoxicated
  • Aim to be seen, but don’t assume you have been
  • If walking in low light, be sure you wear reflective clothing and carry a light
  • Always follow the rules of the road and yield when appropriate

Is Walking or Driving More Dangerous?

The Virginia DMV reports that while 2016 produced 761 fatalities from traffic accidents, 121 of those were pedestrians. While more than 15% of fatalities are from pedestrians, the ratio of driving fatalities to walking fatalities decidedly points to driving as being more dangerous.

What to Do if Injured While Walking Or Driving

If you are injured, be sure you take necessary steps to protect yourself, including:

  • Documenting everything about the accident
  • Getting medical attention to document your injuries
  • Contacting a personal injury attorney for additional guidance and pursuit of compensation
  • Not speaking to the insurance adjuster before an attorney

Let Experienced Professionals Help

Contact us today if you have any questions about personal injury claims or to discuss your case.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.