Grimes & Fertitta, P.C.

How drivers can protect pedestrian safety

Pedestrians are some of the most at-risk people on the roads. Unlike motorists, they have no real protection against the impact of cars or trucks. Pedestrians can be killed in a single accident, whereas motor vehicles involved in crashes with pedestrians may suffer no ill effects.

For people who are going to be walking on or near the roads, there's never been a better time to get educated on safety. For drivers, knowing what to expect when pedestrians are near could prevent serious collisions.

Safety at intersections

One place designed with pedestrians in mind is an intersection. Intersections have WALK and DO NOT WALK signals, traffic lights to control traffic and the benefit that drivers know that people could cross there at the crosswalks.

The problem with intersections is that not all drivers obey the rules of the road. If someone runs a red light or makes a turn during a yellow light, those actions could conflict with the pedestrian signals. If that happens, a pedestrian could be struck despite following the rules of the road.

To be safer at intersections, pedestrians need to look both ways and quickly cross once the signal says WALK. Drivers need to approach intersections cautiously and stop before the crosswalk to give pedestrians space to cross safely.

Safety near roadways

Not everyone is hit because he or she is crossing the road. Sometimes, drivers hit pedestrians on sidewalks or in parking lots. It's vital for pedestrians to stay alert at all times to their surroundings. If they aren't, they may not realize that an approaching vehicle isn't going to stay on the road or that a driver isn't looking at the road at all.

Drivers should keep in mind that pedestrians could be on or near the roads anywhere. They could appear from between parked vehicles, be jaywalking or fall into the roadway.

How drivers and pedestrians can help each other

The reality is that drivers and pedestrians can help each other stay safer by following the current traffic laws in Houston.

Pedestrians should always cross at intersections and be alert when walking on sidewalks or in parking lots. Drivers need to avoid drinking and driving and being distracted behind the wheel, which could lead to an accident when they least expect it.

By following the rules and watching out for one another, it's possible to prevent accidents that injure and take lives.

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