Pedestrian Safety: Staying Safe on Roadways
With so many events in the area, especially the upcoming Rib Cookoff, Balloon Races, and Street Vibrations motorcycle rally, roadways across Reno will be filled with increased pedestrian traffic. As the most vulnerable individuals on our roads, pedestrians have little in the way of protection against larger automobiles, including trucks and passenger vehicles. As such, it becomes critical that pedestrians and drivers do all they can to reduce risks, especially when our communities get crowded.
Our Reno personal injury lawyers at Joey Gilbert Law have extensive experience protecting the rights of victims harmed in all types of traffic accidents, including pedestrian accidents. If you choose to explore the city on foot, or have plans to attend one of the many upcoming events by walking around, we want you to have the information you need to protect yourself and your loved ones. Here are a few important safety tips to remember as a pedestrian:
- Make yourself visible – Being visible to motorists is critical to ensuring they are aware of pedestrian traffic around them. As a pedestrian, you can wear brighter clothing, as well as reflective materials to increase your visibility. You can also carry a flashlight when walking at night, cross roads in well-lit and marked crosswalks, and avoid parked vehicles, bushes, and other obstacles that can obscure you from the view of drivers. As an added precaution, you should make eye contact with motorists prior to crossing any roadway to ensure they see you and know your intent to enter traffic.
- Avoid dangerous actions – Doing your part to remain safe means obeying all rules of the road, which means crossing at marked crosswalks when you have the proper signal. You should also always walk on the sidewalk, or walk against traffic when there is no sidewalk, and walk while sober, as intoxication can increase chances of an accident. Never dart into traffic or j-walk.
- Be alert – It is important to always remain vigilant as a pedestrian. This means being aware of vehicle noise and backup lights or sounds when near traffic, especially in parking lots and near streets with parking spaces. When crossing the street, never assume a driver sees you or that they will stop. Be sure to make eye contact, never rely on pedestrian signals, watch for turning vehicles and scan your surroundings prior to entering traffic. Avoid distractions and wearing headphones when traveling as a pedestrian, as they can substantially decrease your ability to be aware of your surroundings.
Drivers of motor vehicles, including motorcycle riders, also have a responsibility to operate their vehicles safely whenever they are behind the wheel and especially when they are near foot traffic. As a driver, you can help reduce the risks of pedestrian accidents by focusing on the following:
- Avoid distractions – Even when traveling at low speeds on surface streets or in parking lots, driving should always be your primary task. By avoiding distractions such as texting and using a cell phone, you dramatically decrease crash risks and improve your ability to see pedestrians nearby.
- Watch for pedestrians – Whenever you are on surface streets, you need to be prepared for pedestrians. By remaining vigilant at all times, you are better able to see pedestrians, including younger pedestrians who might not always be where they should be. In heavy pedestrian zones, such as near schools and neighborhoods, it is always important to be extra cautious, follow reduced speed limits, and be prepared for pedestrians that may appear at an time.
- Decrease your speed – In addition to decreasing your speed near school zones, you should also travel as a safe speed near heavier pedestrian traffic. This includes neighborhoods and busy urban areas, especially at times when there are more pedestrians on the road, including the mid-day lunch break and evening rush hour. When weather conditions are poor and decrease visibility, you should also drive slower and use extra caution; you might not be able to see pedestrians as easily.
- Remember crosswalk safety – Intersections and crosswalks are the location for numerous preventable pedestrian accidents, which means drivers should always be alert and aware of their surroundings when approaching any intersection. When you do arrive at one, reduce speeds in preparation for the stop, always yield to pedestrians, never pass vehicles stopped at crosswalks, and provide enough room between the crosswalk and your automobile so other motorists can see pedestrians.
Safety is a two-way road, and both pedestrians and drivers have responsibilities to take reasonable measures in ensuring they make safety a priority. When motorists fail in their responsibility to do so and cause preventable wrecks as a result, victims have the right to pursue personal injury claims in order to hold at-fault drivers accountable for their actions and liable for the damages they caused victims, including their medical expenses, physical and emotional pain and suffering, and lost wages, among others.
At Joey Gilbert Law, our legal team is available 24/7 to help accident victims throughout Reno and the surrounding areas of Northern Nevada as soon as they have suffered harm in preventable accidents. If you have questions about your rights following a pedestrian accident and what our firm can do to help you in the legal journey ahead, contact us for a FREE consultation.