Hit-and-run accidents are on the rise in America and as we reported recently, they are also impacting Washington State residents.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, there were 737,100 hit-and-run accidents in 2015 alone, which translates to one hit-and-run crash happening every 43 seconds. Additionally, at least 2,049 of all hit-and-run crashes reported in 2016 resulted in fatalities — the highest number recorded up until then.
While hit-and-run accidents can happen for a variety of reasons, auto safety experts worry about the distracted driving trend.
Understanding Hit-And-Run Accidents
Hit-and-run collisions happen whenever at least one person involved in an accident flees the scene before offering sufficient information or aid to the people involved, or fails to report the crash to authorities. In Washington State, fleeing the scene of an accident is a criminal offense.
Unfortunately, the delays or absence of medical attention caused by hit-and-run drivers end up increasing the risk of severe injury and the cost of medical care. Considering that hit-and-runs account for about 5% of all traffic fatalities and 20% of all deadly pedestrian accidents in America, it is safe to say that we must do more to avoid these types of collisions.
What Factors Can Contribute To Hit-And-Run Crashes?
Knowing that more than half of Americans use their phones while behind the wheel may help us understand why hit-and-run accidents are on the rise. However, distracted driving isn’t the only explanation.
Other common factors behind hit-and-runs include environmental factors such as road conditions and lighting, a lack of witnesses or low traffic, and the time of the day the accident took place.
Additionally, hit-and-runs tend to happen in more populated areas simply because of the greater number of vehicles and pedestrians in close proximity.
If you walk often and would like to avoid hit-and-run accidents as a pedestrian, wear bright colors or reflectors, especially at night. Furthermore, stick to sidewalks and crosswalks only. That will help you stay visible to drivers.
While you cannot control what others do, you can help minimize the risks by staying alert.