Maybe you walk all the way to work in the morning. Maybe you drive your car and then walk through the parking lot. Either way, you spend some amount of time as a pedestrian.
That time comes with a lot of risk. Thousands of pedestrians die in car accidents every year. Per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 5,977 people passed away in 2017 alone. That was a decline from the year before.
How can you stay safe? It's more than just knowing your rights. For instance, maybe you know that you have the right to use the crosswalk safely. You may, but that doesn't stop someone from hitting you because they don't see you, because they cut it too close or because they just do not care about your rights. So, how can you actually stay safe? These tips may help:
- Do not use drugs, even alcohol, when you have to walk near the road or near cars. You do not want anything to impair your perception or your judgment.
- Be extra careful around driveways and parking lots. Even if you're on the sidewalk, a car may cross the sidewalk at those points.
- During the day, wear bright clothes. Make yourself as visible as you can for all drivers.
- At night, walk with a light, even if it's just the light on your phone. You may also want to use reflective tape on your clothes.
- Remember that eye contact can save your life. If you have to pass in front of a car -- someone waiting to pull into traffic, for instance -- you want to make eye contact. Don't just assume they see you just because they should see you.
- Do use intersections when you can. While they don't physically prevent an accident, they do lower the odds.
- If you have to cross at a point without an intersection, make sure it has plenty of lighting and that it gives you a great view of cars coming from all directions.
- Don't do anything unpredictable. Do not take drivers by surprise.
- Don't look down at your phone or listen to your headphones. You want to avoid distractions, remain alert and pay close attention to everything happening around you.
- Always use the sidewalk, if there is one. Again, like a crosswalk, it may not prevent someone from hitting you, but the distance does reduce the risks you face.
What if someone still hits you, even though you do all of this? That's when you need to know if you have a right to financial compensation. Remember, the statistics above are just for fatalities. Many more people got hit and suffered significant injuries, even though they survived.