What Should You Know About Pedestrian Laws?
It’s frightening to think about, but you’re not really safe when you’re walking down the street. It’s a possibility, though—and it’s becoming more common by the day. While we believe it can’t happen to us, the statistics say otherwise. According to NHTSA, a pedestrian dies in an accident roughly every 90 minutes. However, most of these tragedies can be avoided.
How Can Pedestrians Stay Safe?
Everyone has a duty to keep others safe, and we also have a duty to watch out for ourselves. Here are a few ways pedestrians can stay safe while taking a walk.
- Keep yourself visible. Drivers are typically focused on other cars, and in many cases, they don’t expect pedestrians. It’s your job, then, to keep yourself visible. Wear reflective or bright clothing, especially when walking at night. To further reduce your accident risk, carry a flashlight and walk in a well-lit area.
- Reduce distractions. Most of us know the dangers of texting and driving but using your phone while walking can be just as dangerous. It’s important for pedestrians to keep their ears and eyes open to the traffic around them, so be careful when using headphones, too. It may seem surprising, but about one-third of pedestrian accidents involving alcohol were on the victim’s part. If you’ll be walking, stay sober.
- Follow traffic rules. Although you aren’t behind the wheel, you’ll still have to follow the rules of the road. Obeying traffic rules helps you predict what motorists will do, and it makes smart decisions easier. Most jurisdictions have rules specifically for pedestrians. Cross at crosswalks and when drivers yield, and don’t forget to make eye contact with them before you cross. It may take an extra second or two, but it can save your life.
While it’s important to follow the rules, accidents sometimes happen. If you’ve been in a pedestrian accident, your first call should be to a doctor—and your second call should be to an injury attorney.
Most of us have heard that the pedestrian always has the right of way, but that’s just not true; they have the right of way in some situations. If you’re in an intersection with a signal, follow what the signal says. Drivers are required to stop for people in crosswalks, and you must use a designated crosswalk if moving between intersections with crossing signals. If you do not, the penalty can be a citation—or even worse.
What Can You Do After a Pedestrian Accident?
If you are involved in an accident as the victim, seeking medical attention is the most important step. Don’t assume that you are fine; call for emergency services or make a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible. Some conditions don’t show symptoms right away, and doctors can detect life-threatening issues quickly if you see them immediately after an accident. Furthermore, prompt treatment will help your personal injury claim.
It’s a good idea to gather as much evidence as possible. Take pictures of the accident scene; the road itself, traffic signals and signs, the crosswalk, and any vehicle debris, damage, or skid marks. These may help prove a driver’s fault in your injury case.
Finally, an injured pedestrian should always seek legal counsel. If you’re hit while you’re on foot, an attorney can maximize the compensation you receive. Lawyers can help you get compensation for lost income, wrongful death, medical bills, and much more. There is a statute of limitations on pedestrian injury claims, though, so it’s important to act quickly. Be a safe pedestrian, and when that doesn’t work, call a local injury lawyer.