Each year in the US, more than 6,500 pedestrians are killed while crossing the street and another 130,000 are sent to the emergency room. These crashes are often preventable, especially when both drivers and pedestrians follow pedestrian safety guidelines. Next time you’re at the crosswalk, remember these steps and you’ll significantly reduce your chance of an accident.
Follow Traffic Signals
Observing traffic signals is the best way to avoid a serious accident. But that doesn’t just mean using crosswalks and obeying the WALK / DON’T WALK signs. It also means maintaining awareness of traffic at the intersection.
Before crossing, take a moment to see if a driver is trying to make a right turn into the crosswalk. While you would have the right of way, you need to be prepared for the unexpected. If you see a driver who might try to turn into the crosswalk, make sure they see you before you cross.
Establish Eye Contact
Whether you’re at a signaled crosswalk or crossing unassisted, establishing eye contact is the best way to make sure the driver recognizes that you’re trying to cross the street. Drivers are supposed to yield when a pedestrian makes eye contact at an intersection.
By establishing eye contact, you’re telling the driver to stop for you. This has the added benefit of stopping traffic behind the driver as well. In general, it’s safer to cross when a driver has stopped than to risk crossing in front of oncoming traffic.
Make Yourself Visible
Nearly 80% of pedestrian accidents happen at night. The reason is two-fold. First, people are less likely to use crosswalks at night. Second, it’s much harder for drivers to see them.
The best way you can make yourself visible at night is to use crosswalks whenever possible. If there are none nearby, cross directly under a streetlight rather than cross through the dark. This will help drivers see you at a distance and help them to track your movement across the road.
Likewise, try to wear bright colors while out at night. If you’re biking or running, you might invest in a neon safety vest for maximum visibility. Whatever you do, try to avoid wearing dark clothing when going out at night. It makes you much harder to see, even if you’re standing directly under a light.
If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in a pedestrian accident, we are here for you. If you’d like an experienced attorney from Delfino Green & Green to evaluate your case, please send us an email or call 415-442-4646.