Walking is a common mode of transportation, whether it’s for leisure, exercise, or simply getting from one place to another. As pedestrians, we rely on crosswalks to safely navigate busy streets and intersections. However, even in designated crosswalks, accidents can happen. When they do, it’s crucial to understand crosswalk safety and your legal rights as a pedestrian. Learn safety tips as well as possible legal actions for pedestrians below, thanks to an abogado de accidentes peatonales from our friends at Unidos Legales:
Crosswalk Safety: Tips For Pedestrians
1. Look Both Ways Before Crossing
The age-old advice still holds true: always look left and right before stepping into a crosswalk. Make eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you.
2. Obey Traffic Signals and Signs
Crosswalks often have traffic signals or signs indicating when it’s safe to cross. Follow these signals diligently, even if you believe it’s clear.
3. Stay Visible and Wear Reflective Gear at Night
Visibility is crucial, especially at night. Wear reflective clothing or accessories, and carry a flashlight if you’re walking in the dark.
4. Avoid Distractions
Stay focused while crossing the street. Put away your phone, remove headphones, and keep your full attention on the road.
5. Walk, Don’t Run
While it’s essential to cross promptly when safe, running into the crosswalk can be risky. Walk at a brisk pace without rushing.
Understanding Crosswalk Laws
1. Right-of-Way for Pedestrians
In most states, pedestrians have the right-of-way in marked crosswalks. Drivers must yield to pedestrians who are legally crossing the street.
2. Yielding at Unmarked Crosswalks
Even if there are no marked crosswalks, drivers are generally required to yield to pedestrians at intersections.
3. Jaywalking Laws
Jaywalking refers to crossing the street outside of designated crosswalks. While it’s illegal in some areas, the responsibility for pedestrian safety also lies with drivers.
4. Pedestrian Signals
Some crosswalks have pedestrian signals that indicate when it’s safe to cross. Always adhere to these signals.
5. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving, such as texting while driving, is a leading cause of accidents involving pedestrians. Laws vary by state, but distracted driving is universally unsafe. Put away your phone, turn down your music, and do not let passengers distract you.
Legal Rights For Pedestrians
Despite taking precautions, accidents can still occur due to driver negligence or other factors. If you’re involved in a pedestrian accident, it’s essential to understand your legal rights.
1. Seek Medical Attention
First and foremost, prioritize your health. Seek medical attention immediately, even if your injuries seem minor. Some injuries may not manifest symptoms right away.
2. Document the Scene
If you can, document the accident scene. Take photos of the location, any visible injuries, and the vehicles involved. Collect witness information if possible.
3. Report the Accident
File a police report to document the incident officially. This report can serve as essential evidence if you decide to pursue legal action.
4. Contact a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
If the accident resulted from driver negligence, it’s crucial to consult a pedestrian accident lawyer. They can assess your case, determine liability, and help you pursue compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering.
Crosswalk safety is a shared responsibility between pedestrians and drivers. By following safety guidelines and understanding your legal rights as a pedestrian, you can reduce the risk of accidents and ensure that you’re prepared should an unfortunate incident occur. If you ever find yourself in a pedestrian accident, remember that seeking legal representation from a qualified pedestrian accident lawyer can make a significant difference in your pursuit of justice and compensation. Stay safe and informed as you navigate the streets as a pedestrian. Contact a lawyer if you or a loved one has been injured as a pedestrian.