Pedestrian safety is everyone’s concern, which is why it is so disheartening to see statistic from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveal that an estimated 55,000 pedestrians were injured in car accidents nationwide in 2020, and an additional 6,516 were killed in car accidents during the same year.
So, how do we go about protecting those who walk to school, walk for exercise, walk to their neighborhood store or a friend’s house, or are walking in a parking lot to get to their destination? Here are some tips to help.
Safety Tips for Motorists – to Prevent a Pedestrian Accident, Keep Proper Look Out
1. The best way to avoid a pedestrian accident is to keep a look out for pedestrians, at all times. So, whether you are driving through downtown Newhall in the Santa Clarita Valley, or driving through the mall’s parking lot in the San Fernando Valley, be mindful that pedestrians are around and could enter the roadway at any time.
2. Be extra cautious in school zones and neighborhoods where children are present, and keep your speed to the posted speed limit.
Safety Tips for Motorists – to Prevent a Pedestrian Accident, be mindful of Crosswalks and Intersection Crossings
1. When nearing a turn that involves entering a crosswalk, slow down and be prepared to stop if a pedestrian is about to enter the crosswalk.
California Vehicle Code, Section 21950, requires all drivers to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians “within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.” So, an “unmarked crosswalk” at an intersection in the San Fernando Valley has the same force and effect as a “marked crosswalk” in Santa Clarita Valley.
2. If you approach an intersection and there is a car or cars stopped at the crosswalk, be mindful that they may a pedestrian crossing where you cannot see. So, in order to avoid a pedestrian accident, do not attempt to pass the stopped car until you see the full crosswalk.
3. Always yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, or crossing at an intersections, and stop well behind the crosswalk to give other motorists the opportunity to see a crossing pedestrian.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians – to Prevent a Car Accident, Use the Sidewalk
1. When available, always use sidewalks, even it means crossing the street (at an intersection) to use the sidewalk on the other side of the street.
2. If a sidewalk is not available, walk facing oncoming traffic and stay as far from traffic as possible.
3. Obey all traffic signals and signs, and always follow the rules of the road.
4. Many pedestrian accidents occur on driveways because a driver using the driveway to enter or exit a location may not see the pedestrian. So, when approaching a driveway, look out for vehicles entering or exiting the driveway.
5. When walking in a parking lot, look out for cars backing out of a parking space.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians – to Prevent a Car Accident, Cross using a Crosswalk or Cross at an Intersection
1. When crossing the street, use a crosswalk or cross at an intersection.
2. When using a crosswalk or crossing at an intersection, always watch for cars turning right or left.
3. Before crossing the street, look to your left, then to your right and then left again, making eye contact with drivers of oncoming vehicles.
4. Avoid using your cell phone or your earbuds because they can be distracting – you need to stay alert.
5. If walking at night, wear bright and/or reflective clothing to make yourself more visible, and always use a flashlight.
What if you are a pedestrian and get struck by a moving vehicle?
Pedestrian Accidents Cause Physical Injuries
Pedestrians struck by moving vehicles generally suffer physical injuries, ranging from soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash, strains and sprains, to more serious injuries, such as head injuries, broken bones, and neck and spine injuries.
Pedestrian Accidents Cause Emotional Injuries
Pedestrians involved in car accidents also suffer emotional stress, including panic attacks, anxiety, depression and insomnia.
It is Important to be Examined by a Professional After an Accident
No matter what type of injury you sustain in an accident, always seek immediate medical attention for both your physical and emotional injuries.
1. Soft Tissue Injury: If you experience a soft tissue injury, such as whiplash, a sprain or strain, do not overlook the severity of such an injury. Oftentimes, a victim of a soft tissue injury will simply take pain medication under the mistaken belief that the medication will resolve his or her pain.
The simple fact is that pain medication will never correct the underlying condition that is causing the pain. So, seek consultation with either an orthopedic surgeon, a chiropractor or a physical therapist.
2. Serious Injuries: If you black out, or experience nausea, vomiting or a headache, call for paramedics or an ambulance because you may be suffering from a head injury. The same obviously goes if you suffer a broken bone.
Document Your Damages After an Accident
Keep a journal to help you track and document how your injuries effect your life and daily activities. This is important if you wish to make a claim for pain, suffering, inconvenience, etc. at some point in the future.
If you incur out-of-pocket expenses, including medication or need to hire someone to help you with your chores, document those expenses by using a check or a credit card. Never use cash for such items!
After an Accident, Stay Away from Social Media
This advice goes for both car accidents and pedestrian accidents. Refrain from posting on social media platforms for at least six (6) month. This means no posts about:
- The accident;
- Your injuries;
- Your recovery; and
- Your daily activities.
After an Accident, Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney
Protect yourself and your rights by consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney.