How to Stay Safe as a Pedestrian
In 2019, there were 6,205 pedestrian fatalities and countless pedestrian accidents and injuries. Pedestrian safety is everyone’s responsibility, but drivers are not always as careful as they should be. That’s why you, as a pedestrian, should take some steps to keep yourself safe from cars and negligent drivers.
We’ve outlined the most important ones below:
Step 1: Pay Attention
Although it is easier to move your body than operate a motor vehicle, you should use the same amount of focus anytime you are on or near the roadway. Stay alert and pay attention to what you are doing. Avoid distractions from electronic devices and keep your eyes and ears on the road. Don’t text while you’re crossing the street and leave your headphones at home, so you can hear surrounding traffic.
Always keep an eye out for cars, especially when you are crossing the street.
Step 2: Cross Safely
Cross the street in crosswalks whenever possible and obey all signs and signals. If there are no crosswalks nearby, cross at an intersection, and if there are no intersections, choose a well-lit area with a good view of traffic.
Look for cars in both directions and always wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross safely. Keep an eye on traffic as you cross and be mindful of drivers turning left or right.
Step 3: Be Predictable
Part of the reason you should always cross at crosswalks and intersections when they are available is that drivers expect pedestrians at those locations. Similarly, drivers expect pedestrians to obey traffic signs and signals, like the red hand that indicates you should wait and the green hand that indicates you should go. If sidewalks are available, drivers will not expect to see a pedestrian walking on the street.
Use sidewalks whenever you can and if there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far away from moving vehicles as possible.
Step 4: Be Seen
Never assume a driver can see you. When crossing, make eye contact with approaching drivers to make sure they are aware of you. You can also make sure you are visible by wearing bright clothing during the day and reflective clothing at night.
When you walk at night, carry a flashlight, as drivers may see the light before they see you!
Step 5: Be Sensible
Common sense is key when it comes to staying safe as a pedestrian. Watch for cars in driveways and parking lots and be careful whenever you are around motor vehicles.
Avoid alcohol and other substances that impair your abilities and judgment.
Remember that pedestrians often suffer the most in car-pedestrian accidents. Even if you have the right of way, wait until it is safe to cross the road and be aware that not everyone will follow the rules of the road.
While cars protect their drivers, you will take the brunt of any collision that occurs – and you could be left with serious or life-threatening injuries.
Bonus: Know Who to Call
Unfortunately, you cannot avoid every accident. If a drunk driver decides to drive on the sidewalk or a distracted driver speeds through a red light, you could be hit by a car.
If you get hurt:
- Call 911 and accept all recommended medical treatment
- Go to the doctor immediately after the accident (even if you feel fine)
- Gather evidence if you can
- Call an attorney for help with medical bills, missed wages, and other accident-related losses
Our team at Foley Griffin, LLP is here to help you move forward after pedestrian accidents. If you have legal questions or other concerns, please call us at (888) 966-8480 or contact us online for a free, confidential consultation.