Walking in the summer is a very enjoyable experience. Not only are you appreciating the weather and getting exercise, you are encountering the sights and sounds of the city. However, you must balance your frivolity with vigilance. In the next twenty-four hours, on average, four hundred and forty-five people will be treated in an emergency department for traffic-related pedestrian injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the next two hours, on average, one pedestrian will die because of injuries from a traffic crash. More than 4,743 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in 2012, and another 76,000 were injured. While these statistics are dire, there are a number of safety tips pedestrians can practice.
When you can, cross the street at a crosswalk or intersection. Make sure to walk defensively. You shouldn’t assume that people know that pedestrians have the right-of-way. You should stop and look for traffic in all directions before crossing the street. Look to the left, right, and left again. Look left last because cars will be coming from that direction when you first enter the street, suggests the City of Chicago.
Make sure that motorists can see you. AAA recommends wearing lightly colored or reflective clothing at night and brightly colored clothing during the day. Also, whenever possible, you should stay in well-lit areas, especially when crossing the street. You should try to make eye contact with the driver of a stopped or approaching vehicle before walking in the street.
Be aware of what the crosswalk signal is communicating to you. The Walk signal is like a green light. However, you should still check for traffic before crossing the street. A flashing Do Not Walk signal is like a yellow caution light. You should not start to cross the street when this light is flashing. If you are already in the crosswalk when this signal flashes, continue to walk until you reach the other side of the street. A steady Do Not Walk signal is like a red light. You should wait to cross the street until the next Walk signal or green light.
If you are walking on the road because there is not a sidewalk, make sure to walk in the direction of oncoming traffic, advises Runner’s World. If you are walking on a path, always walk on the right hand side so that faster walkers, runners, and cyclists can pass you. If you’re walking with a group of people, make sure to leave enough room for other people to enjoy the path.
Distraction can lead to injury. You should not be looking at your smart phone or using earphones while walking. Do not become so engrossed in a conversation that you do not pay attention to your surroundings.
Make sure to carry a form of identification in case of an accident or medical emergency. If you are away from home, make sure you know the address of where you are staying.
If you suffered a pedestrian-related accident, you may have legal rights to recover for your injuries. The experienced attorneys at Stein & Shulman, LLC represents pedestrians in all types of personal injury matters. Call us today to discuss your legal options.