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Winter Puts Pedestrians in Peril of Vehicle Accidents

Posted on in Personal Injury

Winter Puts Pedestrians in Peril of Vehicle AccidentsPedestrians and drivers, alike, need to be aware of each other during winter weather. Each tends to focus on navigating snow and ice accumulations to avoid their own accidents. While distracted, they may not see each other until it is too late to avoid a collision. It is necessary for both sides to use greater caution during the winter in order to prevent a pedestrian injury.

Sidewalks and Streets

Illinois law states that pedestrians may not walk along the side of the road if there is an available sidewalk. However, snow can pile up on sidewalks because of a property owner not clearing it or a plow truck pushing snow from the street and onto the sidewalk. If the sidewalk is impassable, the pedestrian may need to walk in the street to continue forward. Pedestrians are instructed to stay on the edge of the road, so as to avoid vehicles. In this scenario, determining fault after a vehicle-pedestrian accident can vary:

  • A pedestrian may share fault if he or she recklessly walked into oncoming traffic when there was ample room along the side of the road; or
  • The driver may be at fault if the pedestrian was using appropriate caution or the driver behaved recklessly.


Most pedestrian-vehicle accidents occur in crosswalks. A normal crosswalk can become more dangerous when dealing with winter weather. Keep in mind that:

  • Pedestrians are unable to move as quickly if there is ice or snow on the ground;
  • A driver may have a harder time seeing a pedestrian who has slipped in the road;
  • Slippery conditions make it more difficult for vehicles to stop for pedestrians;
  • A pedestrian who is bundled up may not have a wide range of vision; and
  • Snow and frost can decrease visibility for drivers.

Avoiding Accidents

Many of the safety tips for drivers and pedestrians are constant, no matter the time of year and weather. However, both sides should be more deliberate in ensuring each others’ safety during the winter:

  • Always pay attention to the environment around you, including other drivers and pedestrians;
  • Pedestrians and drivers should make eye contact when they meet at an intersection;
  • Give yourself and others more time than normal to stop;
  • Pedestrians should wear brightly colored clothing so that they are more visible against white and gray surroundings; and
  • Drivers must use their lights and signals to alert pedestrians to their presence and intentions.

Pedestrian Injuries

You may be entitled to personal injury compensation if you were struck by a vehicle while walking. A McHenry County personal injury attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you obtain compensation for your physical and emotional damage. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.



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