You don’t need an expert to tell you that although car accident injuries devastate many drivers, pedestrians often experience much more serious injuries at the hands of hurried and neglectful drivers.
Whether you live in a rural or more populated area, consider safe walking routes and defensive techniques. After all, pedestrians who experience a collision have a much higher chance of fatality or life-changing injury. While you can’t control the actions of neglectful drivers, you can learn strategies that will increase your chances of staying safe on the roads.
Much like motorcyclists, pedestrians experience a disadvantage due to the sheer size difference between themselves and other moving objects on the road. When a collision occurs between a vehicle and a pedestrian, the vehicle and its passengers come away with far less injury or damage.
Pedestrians also move at a much slower pace than any given vehicle, which increases their vulnerability to unforeseen incidents. While drivers may quickly swerve out of harm’s way, pedestrians do not have such a luxury-they can’t outrun a moving car, for instance.
Protect yourself and your children by following these five simple techniques during your on-foot commute.
1. Look Both Ways
Although this rule seems juvenile, it still serves an essential purpose. Vehicles move at high speeds, so those who look both ways ensure their safety from a car that might unexpectedly come around the bend.
To give yourself the highest level of protection, you should look left, then right, then left again before attempting to cross a road or street. Always look left twice, since vehicles driving on the right side of the road will impact your left side first. This practice allows you to identify and avoid any moving objects as you begin to move into the throughway.
2. Avoid Assumptions
Although vehicles should yield to pedestrians, this doesn’t guarantee your safety. You can’t ever know for certain that drivers will obey traffic laws.
Pedestrians often experience injury when they cross in front of an oncoming vehicle with the assumption that the vehicle will yield. While vehicles should yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, this also depends on a lawful and appropriate use of pedestrian-marked crossing areas.
3. Check Driver Eye Contact
To ensure that drivers see and stop for you, establish eye contact before you start to cross. This helps the driver realize your intention to cross, and act accordingly.
Often drivers may feel disconnected from pedestrian traffic because their cars make them feel more powerful and able to ignore smaller objects. This subconscious effect endangers pedestrians, so use eye contact to remind drivers that you are present and require their cooperation.
Eye contact may help in a variety of situations, but don’t make it your sole tool for defensive walking. When in doubt, choose to wait or yield.
4. Avoid Busy Roads
If possible, choose the least trafficked route to your destination. The less crowded the road, the higher chance you have of quick and safe crossings. Of course, circumstances might require you to cross a busy street. In these cases, practice all of the above safe pedestrian techniques.
Stay aware of intersections and roads with busy traffic throughout the day. If you know of an area where drivers tend to speed more than usual, take extra care while traversing it, or avoid it altogether.
5. Follow Crosswalk Signals and Watch Drivers
Sometimes, drivers make a right turn at a red light. This type of turn often means that pedestrians receive the signal to walk, but the turning driver fails to see them. Take care at busy intersections and always look at vehicles around you before you cross, especially vehicles attempting to turn right.
Crosswalk signals exist to help pedestrians know when they can cross safely, but don’t rely solely upon them. Always assess the drivers around you before you act.
Use these techniques to stay safe and aware in your pedestrian travels. And if a neglectful driver causes an accident in spite of your best intentions, don’t hesitate to contact a personal injury lawyer. He or she can help you get the compensation you deserve for an injury that wasn’t your fault.