Recognizing the Dangers of Being a Pedestrian


Here at Skousen, Gulbrandsen & Patience, our car accident lawyers receive many questions regarding auto accidents. Car accidents do not always involve another driver. Sometimes they involve private property, or worse: a pedestrian. What does it means to be a pedestrian though? Of course, everyone knows that a pedestrian is defined as anyone who is walking or running alongside streets by foot to get to their destination.

shutterstock_217915831What many do not know however, is that pedestrian accidents have been dangerously increasing within the past four years. The latest “Everyone is a Pedestrian” statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that in the United States alone, there were nearly 5,000 fatalities in pedestrian-related accidents in 2012. The study also reported the total estimated amount of injured pedestrians in traffic incidents was about 76,000.

If you travel by foot, you are responsible for being aware of your surroundings. In case you missed it, last week was International Walk to School Day, specifically on October 8, 2014. Next year, it will be October 7, 2015. In 1997, this international event was created to raise awareness of those who walk or bike to school. It usually pertains to little ones, but it is an awareness campaign that applies nonetheless to all ages and drivers everywhere.

What Drivers Need to Recognize About Pedestrians

  • shutterstock_214521169Be aware for any foot movement from behind any obstacles including other vehicles or bushes. The pedestrian may come near your car from an unexpected area and cross your path.
  • Honor the right-of-way of pedestrians in marked and unmarked cross walks. Be perceptive to them and ensure that they really are going to walk when the signal prompts them to cross any intersection. Some hazardously move even when the safety flasher comes on or prior to the “walk” signal.
  • Drivers can often not “see” a pedestrian because of sun glare or dirty windows. Make sure you and your vehicle are prepared with sun visors and/or sunglasses to decrease light glare, and have your car’s windows cleaned frequently, which will increase visibility of pedestrians.
  • Some pedestrians only recognize vehicles as hazards at intersections. Be aware of any other “intersections” where they are not paying attention to you such as the following:
    1. parking lots
    2. driveways to streets
    3. streets that are not regulated by a stop light or stop sign

What Pedestrians Need to Remember about Drivers

  • Drivers need you to pay attention to traffic signals too. Do not illegally step into the path of a vehicle when it is not your right-of-way at a stop light.
  • Wear appropriately colored clothing for daytime and nighttime drivers. They need to be able to see you among other roadway distractions.
  • Be cautious and alert when crossing all types of intersections, including those without a traffic light or stop sign.
  • Walk in appropriate areas, such as sidewalks. The bike lane is not a sidewalk.
  • Do not assume actions of any driver. Be sure they are going to stop or provide you the right-of-way by making eye contact.

The above information is not considered legal advice from anyone here at Skousen, Gulbrandsen & Patience, PLC. If you have any specific questions that require legal advice, please contact us online or by phone at 1.800.501.2782. We also have Spanish translators available.