Four safety tips for California pedestrians

Without protection, pedestrians may be at risk for serious injuries if they are hit by a car, but there are things they can do to improve their safety.

When heading to work, going to the store, seeing the sights, getting fit or for any other number of reasons, many Californians choose to walk. However, sharing the roads with automobiles can be dangerous for walkers and joggers. In fact, the California Office of Traffic Safety reports 697 people were killed in pedestrian accidents across the state in 2014 alone. During that same year, many more people suffered serious injuries after being struck by vehicles. Although not all pedestrian-involved collisions may be prevented, there are some things that people may do to help improve their safety.

Who is at risk?

In general, anyone who is walking, jogging or is otherwise outside on the streets with motor vehicles may be at risk of being hit by a car. However, the risk may be greater for some groups than it is for others. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 10 percent of pedestrian injuries and 19 percent of all pedestrian fatalities in 2013 involved people who were at least 65-years-old. Children under the age of 14-years-old may also be more likely to be involved in pedestrian crashes.

Be seen

Many pedestrian accidents occur because the drivers involved fail to see the walkers or joggers. Thus, it is suggested that pedestrians take steps to increase their visibility when they are on the road. This includes wearing reflective or lightly colored clothing if they are walking after dark, dressing in brightly colored clothes while out during the day and making eye contact with drivers prior to crossing the street.

Avoid distractions

While walking or jogging, people's sight and hearing often help them avoid potential hazards. However, distractions such as cellphones and headphones may distract their attention, causing them not to notice possible dangers. Instead of relying on drivers to watch out for them, it is advisable for walkers and joggers to keep their eyes on the road and their ears open to help them avoid being involved in pedestrian accidents.

Do not mix drinking and walking

The CDC reports that alcohol played a part in 34 percent of all fatal pedestrian accidents in 2013. Blurred vision, diminished judgment, slowed reaction times and the other effects of alcohol may cause pedestrians to take unnecessary risks, fail to react to hazards on the roads or otherwise impede their ability to walk safely. Therefore, people should avoid drinking and walking in an effort to avoid being struck by vehicles.

Obey the traffic rules

The traffic rules and signs help to maintain order on the roads. They accomplish this, in part, by projecting to drivers where the other motorists on the road should be and what they should be doing. This is also true of the rules and signs that apply to pedestrians. By following these regulations and signals, pedestrians may anticipate what the vehicles around them will do and help the drivers know what to expect of them.

Seeking legal assistance

Pedestrian-involved collisions may result in serious injuries, requiring extensive medical treatment. Consequently, Californians may incur undue medical expenses and suffer lost wages. Since the responsible drivers may be held liable for these and other losses, it may benefit those who have experienced such situations to consult with an attorney. A lawyer may explain their rights and options for pursuing financial compensation.

  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Solano County Bar Association
  • Consumer Attorneys of California
  • SFTLA - San Francisco Trial Lawyers association
Lead counsel Rated Attorney | Lead counsel | LC | Rated