Tips for sharing the road with pedestrians

couple with daughter crossing the street on a pedestrian lane

Most people imagine car accidents involving two vehicles, but that isn’t always the case. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show the horrifying statistics of pedestrian injuries and fatalities at the hands of drivers. In 2012 alone, almost 5,000 people were killed while another roughly 76,000 were injured.  

Those numbers are staggering, affecting the lives of everyone involved and their loved ones, but there are ways to bring them down. Check out these top tips for sharing the road with pedestrians. 

Understanding Right-of-Way

While drivers are required to look out for pedestrians in any scenario, there’s often a lot of confusion around right-of-way laws. These can vary by state, but there are general rules implanted across the country. 

First, you should always stop for a pedestrian when they are crossing. This includes corners and sidewalks, whether they are marked or not. In most areas, sidewalk crossings include traffic lights for pedestrians as well. 

Second, never attempt to pass a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk. Not only is this illegal, but you’re likely to run someone over. You should also never stop on a crosswalk, which allows pedestrians to move freely in a safe space. 

Third, you can tell if a pedestrian wishes to cross in an unmarked spot when they make eye contact with you. It’s perfectly okay to slow down, stop, and allow them to cross. Finally, make sure to give elderly and disabled pedestrians the time they need to cross, even if their light has expired. 

Approaching Crosswalks

In addition to those rules, the NHTSA also recommends that you slow down when approaching a crosswalk. By lowering your speed, you easily stop if you need to. This helps to cut down on sudden accidents. In most cases, just following posted speed limits is enough. 

Poor Visibility Conditions

It’s common sense to slow down when heavy rain or snow hits. Fail to abide the weather, and you’ll probably need a car accident lawyer. For the same reason, you should keep an extra sharp eye out for pedestrians in these conditions. 

Nighttime is another factor consider. The NHTSA shows that the majority of pedestrian fatalities happen between the hours of six in the evening and six in the morning. Take your time at night, especially when clouds decrease visibility even further. 

Pay Attention to Zones

All drivers know that they need to slow down in a school zone, but that isn’t the only place you should be on high alert for pedestrians. Pay attention for bust stop, deaf children, and other traffic signs indicating that there is a higher concentration of pedestrians in the area. 

Stay Sober

All too many pedestrian accidents are caused by a drunk driver. The same goes for vehicle-on-vehicle accidents, as well. It is in your best interest to never drive under the influence, for your safety as well as everyone else’s. With so many rideshare and public transportation options, it’s easier than ever to be safe instead of sorry.