It’s warming up and everyone wants to get out and enjoy the weather. Keep your eyes and ears open while you’re out, though, because pedestrian accidents happen every day. There are certain variables that statistically make you more likely to be in an accident, so watch out for yourself, your children, and your pets while you’re out and about this season.
As a pedestrian, you generally have the right when crossing the street. That doesn’t mean all drivers are aware of this fact, though. Accidents can happen, and if one happens to you, be sure to see a doctor right away, and consider speaking to a skilled attorney.
You should always use a crosswalk when crossing the street. Not only does a clearly labeled crosswalk signal to cars that they must stop, it will most likely also eliminate fault from you should you be in an accident. Unmarked crosswalks can make this a little trickier.
Most often, even if a crosswalk is not painted, you may still legally cross the street. Drivers will be less expectant of pedestrians at these intersections, though, so be sure to check traffic before stepping into the road.
Distractions work both ways in accidents. If you are texting, listening to music or simply lost in thought, you are more likely to step in the way of an oncoming motorist. This is a simple danger to avoid – just remember to look up from your phone and check both ways before crossing the street.
In most cities, cyclists are required to ride on the street or in lanes specifically designated for bicycles. When bicycles riders ignore this and ride on the sidewalk, it can be downright dangerous. A cyclist on the sidewalk could force you toward the road and into harm’s way. Don’t let yourself be forced into the street by a cyclist. And if you’re a cyclist yourself, use lanes properly.
One of the most dangerous maneuvers to pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and even other motorists is something we see every day: left-hand turns. When a driver turns left, they are handling several tasks at once. They are negotiating a turn, traversing the intersection, checking traffic to their right side, and this can lead to an accident on their left side.
When you’re crossing an intersection, keep yourself safe and be aware of vehicles preparing to turn.
Sunrise and sunset are two of the most dangerous times for you as a pedestrian. Drivers will be contending with the sun being in their face, their eyes adjusting to different light levels and are potentially exhausted from the early or later hour.
It’s your job as a pedestrian to intuit what motorists are doing, and what they will do next. Watching their vehicle’s tires is a good indicator of when they are about to accelerate. Also look for signs that they see you, and that you aren’t in a blind spot. Stay aware and stay safe this summer.