Safety Tips for Pedestrians

Pedestrians are the most at-risk road users in Washington. If a pedestrian gets hit by a car, he or she could suffer catastrophic injuries. In 2022, there were 1,892 pedestrian accidents reported in the State of Washington – 131 of which were fatal. Staying safe as a pedestrian requires constant vigilance. If you get involved in a pedestrian accident despite taking safety precautions, contact an attorney at NW Injury Law Center to discuss a potential personal injury claim.

Know Where to Walk

Always walk on a sidewalk, if one is available. Walking in or near the roadway can pose a significant risk of injury. You are closer to vehicle traffic, putting you at an enhanced risk of being clipped by a car’s side mirror or struck by a distracted driver. Make use of your city’s pedestrian paths, bridges, walkways and crosswalks. If you have no choice but to walk in the road, walk on the side that is facing (against) oncoming traffic. Stay as far to the right-hand side of the road or shoulder as possible.

Understand Washington’s Right-of-Way Laws

As a pedestrian in Washington, you have a responsibility to know and obey the state’s right-of-way laws. These laws determine when and if you can cross the road. Contrary to popular belief, pedestrians do not always or automatically have the right-of-way in Washington. At a signal-controlled intersection, pedestrians must wait for the Walk signal to cross.

It is also against the law for a pedestrian to leave a curb or place of safety and step into the road if a vehicle is approaching too quickly to stop. Yield the right-of-way to drivers, when applicable. Even if you have the right-of-way, look both ways and make sure all vehicles have stopped before crossing. Make eye contact with drivers to ensure that they see you.

Don’t Jaywalk

Jaywalking refers to crossing the road at a place other than an intersection or marked or unmarked crosswalk. Jaywalking may be more convenient for a pedestrian, but it is also more dangerous. You should always take the extra time to cross at an intersection or crosswalk for safety. Crossing the street anywhere else puts you at a higher risk of getting hit by a motor vehicle.

Make Yourself Visible

Visibility is a common issue involved in pedestrian-vehicle collisions in Washington. Drivers often state that they simply did not see the pedestrian. You can reduce your risk of this type of crash by enhancing your visibility before walking or jogging. Wear bright colors, such as yellow or red, and a reflective vest. Don’t walk in the rain, fog, snow or other low-visibility weather conditions. Avoid walking at night, and if you must do so, bring a flashlight.

Avoid Distractions While Walking

Distracted walking has become more of an issue in the Age of Technology. You put yourself at risk of getting hit by a car if you walk while distracted. This includes looking down at a cell phone, reading text messages, sending emails, watching videos, talking on the phone, listening to headphones or looking at an e-reader. If you are distracted, you may step into the road when you do not have the right-of-way, or you may not notice a traffic light changing. It is important to always pay attention to your surroundings as a pedestrian.  If you get injured in a pedestrian accident, remain calm and seek immediate medical care. Then, to begin the claims process, contact a pedestrian accident lawyer in Vancouver at NW Injury Law Center for a free case consultation.

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