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Busting the Most Common Pedestrian Safety Myths

Pedestrian crashes are on the rise across the United States. The Governors Highway Safety Association estimates that 6,000 pedestrians were killed nationwide in 2016, a significant increase from the 5,400 fatalities in 2015.

In many San Diego pedestrian crashes, the careless actions of drivers are to blame, including driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding, making illegal turns, and failing to stop for signs and signals. To stay safe, pedestrians must always be vigilant, particularly at busy intersections or during evening hours when accidents are more likely to occur.

Testing Your Pedestrian Street Smarts

It is important to be aware of certain pedestrian safety “myths” that could put you in danger. Below are a few examples:

  • MYTH #1: Pedestrians always have the right-of-way: The driver of a vehicle must yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. However, when outside of a crosswalk, pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to all nearby vehicles that present an immediate hazard.
  • MYTH #2: Drivers will stop at a crosswalk: Always be cautious while walking, even in a crosswalk. Because drivers don’t always yield to pedestrians, intersections are one of the most common locations for serious pedestrian accidents. In fact, some drivers may even speed up to beat a pedestrian to the crosswalk.
  • MYTH #3: Drivers will obey a traffic signal: Running a red light is one of the most common traffic violations. Accordingly, pedestrians should always look both ways (left, right, and left again) before stepping off a curb and into the street, even when they have a walk signal.
  • MYTH #4: If you see a car, the driver sees you: Because drivers may be distracted from the roadway by their cell phones, car radio or even other passengers, it isn’t safe to assume the driver sees you. Try to make eye contact with the driver before crossing the street and wait for the vehicle to come to a stop before stepping off the curb.
  • MYTH #5: Distractions are limited to drivers: It is also important for pedestrians to be fully alert when walking near traffic. That means pedestrians should avoid listening to music, texting, or using their cell phones while walking.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a pedestrian accident, a San Diego personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage can help. Call today for a free consultation.