The number of pedestrian fatalities in North Carolina grew 11% just last year alone, according to recent State Highway Safety Offices and GHSA data analysis. Surprisingly, North Carolina ranks among the states seeing the most pedestrian traffic fatalities overall. Our home state—along with Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Texas, and New York—accounted for more than half (54%) of all pedestrian deaths during the first six months of 2020. With accidents on the rise, what can you do to stay aware and safe?
Putting your best foot forward: Preventing pedestrian personal injuries
Pedestrian traffic is not often prioritized by those behind the wheel of a car or truck. Because right-of-way isn’t always respected, pedestrians need to be particularly careful when out walking both day and night. To help protect you and your loved ones from an auto-initiated accident or other personal injuries, be sure to consider the following preventative measures.
10 Tips to help keep pedestrians safe
- Be weather aware. Dress for whatever mother nature may have in store. That means putting on snow-ready footwear, rain galoshes, or hiking boots if you’re going to be walking during slippery weather or in areas that may be particularly treacherous.
- Obey all traffic signs and signals. Looking both ways before you cross the street is an age-old bit of advice that we should all be more mindful of. Additionally, keep a close eye on traffic lights and any directional signs that offer guidance to walkers and drivers alike.
- Find the safest walkways; sidewalks are always best. If there is no sidewalk, you should instead walk facing traffic--and as far from traffic as safely possible. Additionally, if a crosswalk or intersection isn’t available to you, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic to use as your path.
- Be alert and vigilant. A casual stroll can be a lovely practice, but if you’re walking in areas with traffic of any kind, you need to be aware of your surroundings at all times. That means avoiding cell phone usage and refraining from using headphones. You not only need your eyes to scan your surroundings -- you need to also be able to listen for additional traffic signals.
- Cross the street only in properly marked areas. Avoid jaywalking and instead look for marked crosswalks and intersections that offer walk lights.
- Walk in well-lit areas. Sidewalks generally have street lights around them to help guide both you and the traffic. Despite the amount of lights around you, if you know you’ll be out at night it is always a good idea to carry a flashlight or other light source and wear reflective or light clothing, so drivers can see you better.
- Don’t assume traffic can see you. Instead, assume that they cannot see you and wait for traffic lights to stop oncoming cars before crossing the road. Additionally, be aware and try to make eye contact with oncoming drivers to further confirm your presence.
- Watch for hidden driveways, entrances, and exits. In residential and business areas, alleyways, blind driveways, and more can quickly lead to an accident. Look out for cars exiting and entering parking lots, driveways, and roadways with thick vegetation.
- Don’t drink alcohol before walking in high-traffic areas. Just as you would avoid alcohol and drugs while driving, also refrain from using anything that may impair your judgment or abilities while out walking. Try to instead practice the same safety rules as you would when getting behind the wheel, to ensure you remain aware of your surroundings.
- Share the walkway. If you’re on a sidewalk or other pathway, be mindful of cyclists, skateboarders, scooters, strollers, and more. The area in which you’re walking may not be solely for fellow pedestrians. Being aware will help you yield and safely share the road, when necessary and appropriate.
If an accident does happen, we’re here to help
We all know that sometimes, despite our best efforts, occasional accidents do happen. If you or a loved one are injured in a pedestrian accident in North Carolina, Wilson Williams Law team can help!
Please give us a call at (888) 253-4071 today to learn more about the pedestrian laws in North Carolina, and how we can help you through your pedestrian accident or personal injury claim. We look forward to helping you get back on track.
Note: This blog is intended to be informational only and shall not be construed as legal advice.