Pedestrian Accidents and COVID-19
While the coronavirus pandemic is far from over in the country, businesses in states nationwide are starting to open back up again and stay-at-home orders are being lifted. This is true in Alabama, where the Safer at Home order is in effect until July 3 (and was modified from a stay-at-home order). As people emerge from quarantine and start to enjoy the warm weather, outdoor shopping and dining, and more, there’s another risk outside of the coronavirus pandemic: pedestrian accidents.
Both drivers and pedestrians should remain alert and informed, doing everything they can to prevent accidents. Here are some tips for both pedestrians and drivers navigating Alabama’s streets–
Pedestrian Accident Prevention Tips for Drivers
Being a driver is a big responsibility. A motor vehicle may weigh upwards of 4,000 pounds and can cause serious damage should it collide with an unprotected pedestrian. As a driver, you have a duty to operate your car with care. Tips for avoiding pedestrian accidents include:
Always drive while sober and well-rested. Driving while fatigued or driving impaired can significantly increase your risk of being involved in a crash, and is dangerous for both you and others on the road.
Follow the speed limit. Not only does speeding increase the risk of a crash, but it also will lead to more severe damages should a crash occur.
Pay attention to pedestrians on the road. Be actively looking for pedestrians as you drive, especially if you are in an area that has a lot of foot traffic.
Yield when the law requires you too. The law requires motor vehicle drivers to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. If you are unsure whether or not you have the right of way, make eye contact with the pedestrian and pay attention to what they are doing before proceeding.
Pedestrian Accident Prevention Tips for Pedestrians
The duty is not only on drivers to prevent pedestrian accidents, but also on pedestrians, too. As a pedestrian, be sure to:
Put away distractions when walking. Using your cellphone or listening to music while walking is distracting and limits your ability to see and hear oncoming vehicles. Pay attention, and put distractions away for optimal safety.
Don’t assume that you have the right of way. Just because you’re a pedestrian does not mean that you always have the right of way, especially if a traffic light indicates that you should not cross. Even if you do have the right of way, be sure to make eye contact with drivers before crossing to ensure that they see you and do not intend to proceed.
Walk sober and smartly. While choosing to walk home rather than drive if you’ve had one too many to drink may be the smarter choice legally, walking while intoxicated can be dangerous. It’s best to walk while sober and aware of your surroundings. What’s more, make smart choices while walking, such as looking before crossing, holding children’s hands when crossing busy streets, and always coming to a stop before proceeding through a crosswalk or intersection.
Make sure cars can see you. Finally, make sure that motor vehicle drivers can see you by wearing bright colors and carrying lights or using reflective tape or material on clothing. Many pedestrian accidents occur simply because drivers don’t see the pedestrians.
What Happens if You’re Involved in a Pedestrian Accident
If you’re in a pedestrian accident, your rights and responsibilities will vary depending on if you’re the pedestrian who’s hit or the driver of the car involved in the crash. For injured pedestrians, bringing forth a claim for damages against the liability insurance company of the at-fault driver can yield compensation for your injuries, including both economic and noneconomic losses. If you’re the driver, you may be held liable for financial damages suffered by the pedestrian, and you may also face criminal charges too depending on the cause of the crash.
For both drivers and pedestrians who are involved in crashes–especially pedestrian crashes that result in serious injuries–hiring an experienced Alabama attorney is key.
Call the Law Firm of Smith & McGhee, P.C. Today
As quarantine in Alabama comes to an end and more people start to spend time outside, we hope that there won’t be a large uptick in pedestrian accidents, and are optimistic that following the tips above will assist everyone in staying safe. If you are involved in a pedestrian accident in our state, whether as a pedestrian or a driver, our law firm can provide the legal support and representation you need. As a law firm that represents both plaintiffs in personal injury claims and defendants facing traffic and criminal charges, we have a unique perspective that makes us well-equipped to represent you in even the toughest of cases. To learn more about our law firm and how we can help, please schedule a consultation with us by calling (334) 702-1744 or by sending us a message at your convenience online.