With millions of cars on the nation’s roads every day, we must all practice safe driving habits. Such a commitment involves more than just the efforts of other drivers and vehicles; it involves pedestrians and other non-drivers. Accident lawyers often see cases involving pedestrians, bystanders, and others inside vehicles who have been involved in a motor vehicle accident. To avoid injury, drivers and pedestrians must learn to share the road by following basic rules of the road and safety guidelines.
Drivers and Pedestrians
Drivers use roadways, while pedestrians use walkways and sidewalks – and the two cross paths at intersections, crosswalks, driveways, and parking lots to name a few. It is important to know the best way to be safe in these situations to reduce accidents and save lives.
Of the 3,377 traffic-related fatalities in Texas in 2013, 485 were pedestrian deaths involving automobiles.1 When pedestrians travel in close proximity to automobiles, there is a definite risk of serious injury or death. Although these are not one-sided concerns, lawyers point out that much of the burden for pedestrian safety lies with vehicle drivers.
Increase Driver Safety Around Pedestrians
Good observation and awareness are essential to safe driving practices around pedestrians. It is necessary to follow all traffic signs and safety markers while driving and be ready to react quickly if a pedestrian appears unexpectedly. This is an important consideration with certain at-risk pedestrians who may inadvertently enter vehicle traffic routes, including senior citizens, children between 5 and 9, and individuals with special needs.2
Lawyers who handle injury claims from automobile-pedestrian accidents advise that being aware and attentive in situations such as backing out of a driveway or parking spot can be the difference between a serious accident injury or not. It is also vital to drive the speed limit and abide by all crosswalk and pedestrian notices, especially in slower, residential, or more heavily-populated areas.
Increasing Pedestrian Safety In Traffic Areas
Pedestrians must do their part to avoid vehicles and prevent accidents. Even the most well-intentioned drivers can find themselves in a situation involving a pedestrian who is in the wrong place. The lawyers who help clients recover from auto accidents point out that pedestrians should be aware of areas where it is unsafe to walk and try to avoid using them. Unsafe pedestrian actions could include walking behind a backing vehicle, walking against a red light, crossing in the middle of the street away from a marked crosswalk, standing or walking on a median, or being anywhere cars travel when there is not an official marked pedestrian path such as a sidewalk, walking path, crosswalk, or other such area.
Pedestrians should make efforts to remain visible to vehicles at all times possible and should use designated pedestrian walkways, observe posted traffic and pedestrian signs and signals, and be aware of oncoming traffic. When walking at night or in bad weather, pedestrians should wear reflective clothing or other gear in order to be easily seen by drivers of vehicles.
When drivers and pedestrians work together, we can reduce the incidence of pedestrian-related automobile accidents. Local municipalities should also do their part by installing and maintaining pedestrian zones, sidewalks, and other safe walking areas. Lawyers who help clients injured as a pedestrian advise that pedestrians and drivers share the responsibility of safe travel. Working together and always looking out for the other person will help everyone stay safe and avoid unnecessary injuries.