A recent local news report highlighted that pedestrian-involved accidents, as well as all highway deaths, are up this year. Drivers have a lot to pay attention to; even if we assume people are driving safely and not utilizing cellular phones or other electronic devices while driving, there are plenty of other distractions that can cause a driver to take his eyes off the road. Billboards, signs, other drivers, sirens, loud music, food consumption, spilled coffee . . . the list seems limitless. Being cognizant of pedestrians while you are a driver is equally important to being aware of your surroundings when you are a pedestrian, and these tips may help you avoid an accident in the future.
Pedestrian accidents (and back over accidents specifically) have become so commonplace that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has implemented a rule that will effectively require back up cameras in all vehicles by 2018. Drivers often forget their obligations to bicyclists, pedestrians, and public transportation vehicles, which can lead to catastrophic accidents.
A simple step in the right direction is understanding what the traffic laws are. Most people do not know that bicyclists have many of the same rights on the road as a larger vehicle, and fail to yield to bicyclists even though it is required by traffic laws. Passing buses and other public or large commercial vehicles is typically unlawful as well. Consider what happens when you pass a bus: the bus has pulled over to the right side of the road. You are impatient and decide to pass the bus. What you did not notice, however, is that right in front of the bus is a crosswalk, and individuals that just got off the bus are beginning to cross the crosswalk as you speed past the bus. Be patient, follow traffic laws, and always assume there are pedestrians even if you cannot see them right away.
The cardinal rule is this: always be under the presumption that drivers do not see you. If you assume the driver is not paying attention, then you can avoid most situations that would lead to accidents. Make sure you are always alert; this means keeping your headphones off your head, or quiet enough that you could hear oncoming traffic when necessary. Always use crosswalks, watch out for emergency vehicles, and be especially careful when walking in front of large vehicles that may prevent oncoming drivers from seeing you.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that when a sidewalk is not available, pedestrians should walk on the shoulder facing traffic. The agency also recommends wearing reflective clothing when walking or biking in dusk or nighttime conditions to increase the possibility that oncoming drivers will spot you. Regardless of the time of day you are walking, always be sure to keep your head up, ears open, and remain under the assumption that drivers do not see you.
If you or anyone you know has been injured or killed as a result of an auto accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Regardless of whether you were the driver or pedestrian, or even if you feel you are partially at fault, South Carolina law protects individuals who act in accordance with the law. The Solomon Law Group has a team of experienced auto accident attorneys who know how to litigate all varieties of personal injury claims from start to finish. If you think you may have a viable case or simply want to know more about your legal rights as a victim in an auto accident, contact our Columbia, South Carolina office today.