The next time you get behind the wheel of your truck or car, remember there are other people on the road who aren’t driving – they’re walking.
The cases of pedestrians being struck by cars in 2010 reached 4,280 and the number is expected to rise over the next several years. Experts blame the use of earphones and cell phones by either the pedestrian or driver or both as the most common cause.
So how do you as the driver avoid hitting a pedestrian or you as the pedestrian avoid being hit by a car?
If you’re driving a vehicle, there are several different areas you should pay attention to, especially when it involves pedestrians. All of these guidelines are common sense, but when you’re behind the wheel, your attention is focused on multiple events, so it pays to review:
- Stop for pedestrians in crosswalks – it’s the law in Maryland!
- Absolutely put down the cell phone, unless it’s hands free; it is also against the law to drive using a cell phone
- Drive slower in bad weather, leave extra time to reach your destination
- Pay attention to stop signs and yield signs
- Watch out for pedestrians, joggers, and bicyclists especially at night
Drivers aren’t the only ones responsible; pedestrians are required to adhere to the rules of the road. In Maryland, if your negligence contributes or causes the accident, you will not recover even if you are injured, therefore:
- Obey traffic signals and don’t cross against the light!
- If you’re walking in high traffic areas, turn off your headphones
- Walking and talking on the cell phone is dangerous
- Don’t walk against traffic and always look before you cross
- It’s illegal to cross highways and freeways
- Be extra careful at night, drivers can’t see you
Despite all of these cautionary steps, accidents still occur between drivers and pedestrians, especially in areas where there is heavy foot traffic.
For example, in Ocean City this summer, there have been over 20 pedestrian accidents in the resort town, with two fatalities. Many of these accidents could have been avoided if the driver had obeyed posted speed limits and the pedestrian had used the crosswalks.
Unfortunately, accidents occur even with the most cautious driver or pedestrian. When an accident occurs, the first step to take is to obtain medical treatment. Second, contact your insurance carrier to notify them of the claim.
If you are the injured pedestrian, locate an attorney or law firm that handles this type of claim.
As with any other kind of legal undertaking, there are literally thousands of different factors that go into a case and an attorney can guide you through the necessary steps.
The best way to avoid having to experience defending or pursuing a claim is to use caution when you’re driving or walking along the roadway.