If you walk a lot in and around Stamford, you may have harrowing stories to tell about near-misses with drunk, distracted or otherwise unobservant motorists. All the traffic activity raises the level of risk for pedestrians whose mode of travel is their own two feet.

What are the causes of the 70,000 pedestrian injuries and over 4,000 deaths from encounters with drivers? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that only 11 percent of transportation is on foot, yet 13 percent of auto-related deaths involve pedestrians in the United States. Read on for some common causes of pedestrian accidents.

Using the wrong lane

Often, it’s a bike rider taking a sidewalk shortcut who clips a pedestrian in their path. But drivers, bikers and motorcyclists must take care to ensure that they don’t cause an accident.

Quieter cars

The rise of nearly soundless hybrid cars is a good thing in many cases, but when it comes to pedestrians, not so much. If they don’t hear the approach of traffic, they are 40 percent more likely to get hit by the drivers.

Unmarked crosswalks

Intersections are dangerous locations for all, but especially for pedestrians. Whenever possible, pedestrians should use marked crosswalks with signals.

Intoxication

Pedestrians who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol are at a much higher risk of being killed by a motorist. In fact, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 37 percent of pedestrian deaths happen to those with blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of .08 percent or higher.

Drivers making left-hand turns

There is three times the risk of getting struck down by a motorist making a left as there is for drivers turning right.

Drivers use of electronic devices

Whether they are fiddling with their cellphones or rechecking their GPS, motorists who engage with their electronic devices put pedestrians in harm’s way.

Wearing dark clothing

Especially at night and on weekends — the times that most pedestrian accidents occur — pedestrians should wear light-colored clothing to be more easily seen by drivers. It’s also a good idea to use your cellphone flashlight or a pocket device to signal your presence walking along the road.

What can a pedestrian do after an accident?

In many cases, it may be possible to take legal action against the driver who is responsible for your injuries and damages. Learning more about your rights under Connecticut law can help you decide whether to pursue a claim for damages.