Almost 6,000 pedestrians are killed each year in traffic accidents in the U.S. Often, it’s because drivers are negligent. Distracted driving and speeding are rampant and present a serious danger to pedestrians. Whether you are out for a run, walking your dog, or going for an after-dinner stroll, you can protect yourself by following these simple safety tips:
Follow the Rules of the Road That Apply to Pedestrians
Wisconsin has laws regulating what pedestrians can and cannot do. These are common-sense rules that help keep you safe. They include:
- If there is a traffic light, cross on the green or the “Walk” sign. Don’t start walking while the signal says “Don’t Walk.” However, if you start on “Walk,” and the signal changes to “Don’t Walk” before you are all the way across, you can continue to the other side or to a safety zone.
- If you cross at an intersection or crosswalk where there is no traffic light or traffic officer, you have the right of way over the vehicles on the road — but only if you cross safely. Never walk or run suddenly into the path of an oncoming vehicle that is so close it may have trouble stopping in time.
- If you cross the road outside of a crosswalk, then the vehicles, not you, have the right of way. You must yield to oncoming traffic.
- Use sidewalks where available. For example, you should jog on a sidewalk, not the road, where possible.
- If you walk on the side of a road, walk on the left side. When cars approach, move as far to the left on the road as you can.
You can significantly increase your safety just by paying attention to what is going on around you. Be especially mindful when crossing the street because that’s when 58 percent of pedestrian-vehicle collisions happen. Make eye contact with drivers when possible.
It’s hard to stay alert if you are impaired by alcohol or drugs. If you are drinking or otherwise impaired, get a lift from a sober friend or take a cab or public transit, where available.
Be Extra Careful After Dark
Now that the days in Wisconsin are so short, you may be out walking more often after dark.
- Light colored clothing, reflective clothing, and LED lights will help make you more visible.
- You are easier to see when you walk on the left side of the road, facing oncoming traffic.
- No matter what you wear or where you are walking, never assume that drivers can see you. Be careful!
Contact GCW Lawyers
If you follow these tips, you can significantly decrease your chances of being hit by a vehicle. However, you can only control your own behavior, not that of drivers. If you or a loved one are ever involved in a pedestrian-vehicle accident, you may have the right to compensation for your injuries. GCW Lawyers can help. Contact us for a free consultation.