893 pedestrians were killed on roadways in California in 2018, and over 14,000 pedestrians were injured in the state that year, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety.
California is widely known for its sunny weather, so between the weather and California’s sizable population, it’s no surprise that more pedestrians are killed in California than in any other state.
In this article, our pedestrian accident lawyers will share with you tips on how to avoid accidents while being a pedestrian in California.
Cross the Streets at Designated Crosswalks
Drivers are used to pedestrians crossing roads at crosswalks. Drivers who pay attention will scan for pedestrians when they arrive at crosswalks, and crosswalks usually have signs or markings that catch the attention of drivers.
Trying to cross a road where there is no crosswalk may end up surprising drivers who might not have enough time to react to you. This may cause drivers to strike you or get in an accident while trying to avoid striking you.
If you need to cross a road and no designated crosswalk is available, the safest place to cross is at an intersection. You should avoid crossing roads mid-block in busy locations whenever possible.
Peer Around Vehicles That Are Stopped
A vehicle ahead of you might notice you and proceed to stop. Any car behind that car should also stop, but they may instead attempt to quickly drive around the car in front of you. Be aware that this may happen, and scan for cars behind and around stopped vehicles when you pass through crosswalks. Do the same when walking near parked cars.
Don’t Assume Drivers Will See You
Drivers should always pay attention, but they are unfortunately not always attentive. Some drivers are even on drugs or alcohol. You should always ensure that traffic is stopped before crossing intersections, even if the right of way is yours.
Make Sure You Are Visible
One of the most common causes of pedestrians getting in accidents is poor visibility of pedestrians. Drivers have a higher chance of striking you if they can’t see you. There are methods you can use to make sure you are a visible pedestrian, like:
- Using flashlights at night
- Wearing reflectors
- Wearing clothing that is bright
Don’t wear dark clothing at nighttime if you can avoid it. It can be very difficult to see pedestrians wearing dark clothing, even with a car’s headlights. The more visible you are, the more time drivers have to react or slow down when they notice you.
Keep Far Away From Traffic if You Need to Stop Your Vehicle on a Road
One common cause of severe pedestrian accidents is when people need to stop their cars on the side of highways. Drivers on the highway are driving at high speeds and aren’t always attentive as to the contents of the road’s shoulder.
If you have to stop your car on the side of a road, ensure you’re as far away from the roadway as possible. Do not stand right next to the road. Leave plenty of space between yourself and the road to give drivers as much time as possible to avoid striking you.
Avoid Getting Distracted
One common cause of pedestrian accidents is distracted walking. Those who don’t pay attention might get too close to vehicles or walk into the road. Do not use your phone or text people while you cross the road or walk on the roadside.
You should also not use earbuds or headphones when you walk around traffic. You’re better able to be aware of your surroundings if you take the earbuds out and put your phone down.
Drivers can also get distracted. Don’t assume drivers can see you just because you can see them. Wait for drivers to slow down or stop at crosswalks before walking in front of them.
Try to Keep Space Between You and the Road
Your risk of being struck by a vehicle increases as the amount of time you spend walking on a road increases. Always keep a safe amount of distance between you and the road if you can. Walk on sidewalks or paths when they are available instead of walking on the road in order to reduce the chance that you are struck by a vehicle.
Walk on the very far edge of the shoulder when sidewalks or paths aren’t available, and walk facing traffic when you do. Doing so allows you to watch oncoming traffic and may allow you to react if it looks like you might be about to be struck by a vehicle.
Wait for Signals and Pay Attention at Intersections
Impatient pedestrians sometimes start walking through intersections before the signals tell them it is safe to do so. This practice increases your risk of being struck, especially when a driver is attempting to accelerate and beat a red light.
You should always wait until signals tell you it’s safe to cross before you cross a crosswalk. And even then, you should be alert and look around for vehicles that are turning or not following traffic signs.
Pedestrian Safety Tips for Kids
Back-to-school time is here for millions of Americans, and that means millions of American children will be walking to and from school every day. It is important that you teach your child about pedestrian safety for many reasons:
- Children are impulsive and tend to suddenly run into roads, often chasing balls
- Children are short and may find it difficult to see above obstacles, and their shortness may make it harder for drivers to see them
- Children can be distracted easily because of poor attention spans
- Children can have problems with sound location and may not be able to discern the direction vehicles are coming from
- The side vision of children is limited, so children need to be taught to turn their heads when scanning for vehicles
- Children might not realize that drivers may not see them, even though they can see the drivers
- Children may not have the best perception of distance and speed
- Children may not understand that vehicles can severely injure or kill them
With that in mind, you should teach your children to do the following:
- Obey and understand all traffic signals and signs, including “Don’t Walk” and “Walk” signs. Make sure your children understand they are to continue crossing a crosswalk when lights change to “Don’t Walk.”
- Scan for white lights on the back of cars that tell them that cars are backing up.
- Stop and look prior to crossing alleys and driveways.
- Carefully crossing streets by stopping at the curb, looking left, right, and left a second time for cars. Make eye contact with drivers nearby before stepping onto the road to ensure that cars have stopped. Walk instead of running across the road while looking right and left.
- Pay close attention when around railroad crossings, as trains can be incredibly dangerous.
- Always be aware and alert.
- Walk on sidewalks and cross at intersections, using crosswalks and traffic signals. Walk while facing traffic and as far off to the side as you can when sidewalks are unavailable.
- Pay more attention than usual when the weather is bad, as weather can reduce drivers’ visibility and increase their stopping distance.
- Always obey crossing guards, following any signals they give.
- Don’t dart out into roads or cross the roads between parked cars.
- Pay extra attention to the possibility of cars that are backing up or turning.
- Don’t play in parking lots, roads, or driveways.
- Pay extra attention at night and wear reflective gear and clothes with bright colors.
- Remove headphones or turn the volume off before crossing roads.
- Put phones down when crossing roads. This message needs to be reinforced regarding teens.
- Stop walking and locate a safe place before talking on the phone.
Children under the age of 10 should always cross with an adult, as children younger than 10 often can’t judge the distance and speed of oncoming traffic.
Speak to Our Pedestrian Accident Lawyers at Nadrich & Cohen
Nadrich & Cohen have been handling pedestrian accident cases since 1990, so we’ve heard about all kinds of pedestrian accidents and the causes behind them.
While we represent clients who have been injured by someone else’s negligence, we sometimes represent pedestrians who are partially at fault for their own accidents since California is a comparative negligence state.
We’ve heard every kind of reason for a pedestrian accident you could possibly imagine over the past 30 years, so we know what behaviors pedestrians need to avoid in the name of safety.
Contact us today by phone, text message, or online to receive a free case evaluation if you or a loved one have been injured as a pedestrian. You may be eligible for compensation, and we will not collect any fee or payment unless and until we win your case.