March 15 2016

Pedestrian Safety: 9 Rules for Staying Safe

Pedestrians and drivers both have the responsibility of lawfully sharing the road. Each party should do their part in keeping everyone as safe as possible, but the danger is usually greater for those on foot. Following are some of the most important tips to remember to stay safe as a pedestrian.

1. Wait Your Turn

When attempting to cross the street, always wait until traffic has come to a complete stop. Don’t try to rush or cut corners when deciding to cross as you’ll put yourself in more danger. Danger is a concern not just when you fail to follow road safety rules for pedestrians, but it should be a concern at all times. Even if you plan to wait until the right moment, you must still make sure you don’t make a mistake when reading signals so that you can be certain it’s safe for you to proceed.

2. Check Every Path

When crossing the street, make sure you look in every direction where cars could pass. Depending on the intersection, cars could be coming from a perpendicular street, turning from the adjacent lane or turning from a lane on the opposite side of the road. Check for vehicles that could be coming from every direction.

3. Always Use Crosswalks

Being a pedestrian is dangerous enough, don’t put yourself in unnecessary situations by not using a designated crosswalk. You are more likely to be considered at fault should an accident occur, and you can be ticketed and charged for crossing incorrectly. Don’t consider jaywalking as a means to shorten your trip. Not only does this put you and the drivers at risk, but it also wastes the resources you have in traffic signals.

4. Use Pedestrian Crossing Signals

Pedestrian crossing signals are provided to help you make safe and informed choices when walking across the street. They are also available to help drivers know when to yield to provide the best road experience for all parties. There are rules you must follow to use crossing signals properly. If the light signaling you to walk has ended, do not start crossing the road. If there is a hand or timer, you must wait for the next available time.

5. Communicate

Being a safe pedestrian isn’t just about how you make decisions on the road. It also involves making decisions with the drivers you encounter. If you come in contact with a driver whom you need to pass, try to look through the windows and make eye contact. This will make it easier for you both to decide what steps to take. When communicating, use mutually intelligible signals so that you avoid miscommunication.

6. Don’t Engage in Distractions

When walking, you may be tempted to stay entertained by your phone or drown out the sounds of loud vehicles. Instead, you should refrain from using any gadgets or other devices that may take your attention off of the road. Just like driving, you shouldn’t be distracted while walking. Stay aware of everything happening around you, and be particularly attentive when crossing the street.

7. Stand Out

Make sure you are easily noticed when walking in order to give drivers the chance to spot you well in advance. Drivers already tend to be distracted by cell phones, the radio or other passengers, so they may not expect to see you. Wear bright colors such as red, yellow or white. If necessary, wear reflective gear along your clothing. This comes in handy especially at dusk, night or during cloudy weather.

8. Be Considerate

Just like you expect drivers to consider your needs, you must extend the same courtesy. It can be easy to forget this when those in automobiles are obligated to yield to you and they have the faster more powerful method of transportation. When crossing lanes, try to move quickly. If drivers allow you to pass on smaller roads, thank them with a hand gesture, wave or smile. Allow cars to turn when coming from buildings or parking lots.

9. Realize Drivers Are Human

Cars are not driven by robots or computers, so you must take into account that no driver is perfect. You or those you’ve accompanied likely make mistakes behind the wheel as well, so you can’t expect other drivers to abide by all of the traffic laws. Even for those that try their best to follow rules, accidents can still occur. Injuries to pedestrians can occur if the driver doesn’t adjust for weather conditions, doesn’t notice signals or is simply distracted.

crossing the street safely at crosswalk

By law, drivers in Edmonton must yield the right of way to pedestrians crossing the road the proper way. If you sustain any injury due to the negligence of a driver, be sure to contact CAM LLP as soon as possible. You are entitled to safety when following the law as a pedestrian, and you can seek compensation when drivers fail to ensure your safety.