Smart pedestrians must balance rights, responsibilities, and common sense to safely and legally share the roads with cars, trucks, and other vehicles. The most important thing to remember when walking in or near roadways is to stay alert. You can’t be certain that nearby drivers are paying attention.
Crosswalks Offer Legal Protection
While laws regarding marked crosswalks vary by jurisdiction, they provide legal protection for pedestrians in most areas. They also provide a visual reminder to drivers that a pedestrian could be present. Drivers are usually required to stop for pedestrians in designated crosswalks even if their light is green. You should understand, however, that crosswalks are taken more seriously by law enforcement in some areas than others.
Watch for Visual Cues
Avoid accidents by watching for visual cues from drivers that tell you they know you’re there. In addition to distracted drivers, pedestrians sometimes encounter aggressive motorists who simply disregard crosswalks and pedestrians near the roadway. You should never step into a lane of traffic until you see that vehicles are stopped or stopping. If you see a driver isn’t slowing down, hold up your hand or make eye contact when possible to make sure you’re seen.
Don’t Make It Hard on Drivers
Wearing dark clothing makes you blend in with some surroundings, increasing your chance of a pedestrian accident. You also make the job of a driver more difficult when you run or move suddenly when near a roadway. Additionally, avoid attempting to cross without a crosswalk when you know that your presence will alter the flow of traffic. If your crossing causes vehicles to slow where there is no crosswalk, you could cause a vehicle collision as some cars slow and others don’t.
Pedestrian accidents can be particularly nasty, involving long-term disability, years of treatment and physical therapy. Distracted drivers using cell phones, eating, and even talking to other passengers cause many pedestrian accidents. An inattentive driver can cause a pedestrian injury or death in a flash.
A personal injury lawyer may be able to help you recover financial damages if you’re injured. They can help you get the money you need to cover medical bills and lost wages due to your injuries. They may also be able to get you compensation for pain and suffering.
The law is usually on the side of pedestrians, but drivers don’t always pay attention or expect pedestrians to be present. Use the law to your advantage, but use common sense when walking near or crossing roads as well. If you get across safely and legally without impeding drivers or causing anyone frustration, it’s a job well done.
Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University and now enjoys writing about health, business, and family. A mother of two wonderful children, she loves traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. She recommends contacting a personal injury attorney, like those at Feldman Lee PLLC, if you’ve been injured as a pedestrian. You can find her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.