We want to feel safe when we’re walking around the Loop or getting to the “L”. We want to be able to freely jog down local roads or let our kids run wild in our neighborhood parks. But despite the rules of the road, crosswalks, and other safety measures, we’re still in danger of being in a traffic accident as pedestrians. Every year, thousands of individuals are hurt or killed by being struck by cars in pedestrian accidents. In 2013, 4, 725 people were killed in crashes and more than 150,000 were treated in the ER, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But as a pedestrian, there are steps you can take to improve your safety, including:
- Use the sidewalk: Also stay on the sidewalk. Don’t try and walk in the lane or on the median between lanes. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the shoulder toward the direction of traffic. When you face traffic, you’re more likely to avoid a hazard and you can make eye contact with drivers.
- Use crosswalks: You should only cross the road is designated places, never in the middle of the block.
- Wait for the signal: Even when you’re in the crosswalk, you need to wait for the signal that it’s your turn to cross. But don’t begin to walk without looking. There may be drivers who aren’t paying attention, and you should be sure all cars have come to a complete stop before you venture into the road.
- Keep the volume down: Many people wear their earbuds and listen to music or podcasts when they’re walking. But filling your ears with tunes means you can’t hear what’s going on around you. Keep the volume down, or better yet don’t wear headphones, so you’re better aware of your surroundings.
- Stay in groups: It isn’t always possible to walk in groups, particularly for people who use public transit to commute to work in Chicago. But if you’re going out for a walk or jog for fun, see if anyone else cares to join. Cars are more likely to see a group of people instead of a lone pedestrian.
- Make yourself visible: If you are walking or running at night, make sure to wear reflective clothing or have a light so that cars can see you. Also, try to stay in well-lit areas.
- Teach children walking safety: Children are one of the main groups of pedestrians killed in crashes. As a parent, it can be difficult to determine when your child is old enough to go out on their own and how far. As you adjust the boundaries, make sure you teach them how to be safe around traffic, including staying on the sidewalk and only crossing in appropriate places. It may even be best to walk the neighborhood with your child so they understand the safest routes.
- Change the culture: Pedestrians are often in a hurry to get to work, run errands, or meet up with friends. But this rush is what gets them into trouble. Chicagoans are particularly bad about crossing in the middle of the road and when they don’t have a signal. To reduce pedestrian accidents, choose to be patient when it comes to walking around the city and encourage others to do the same.
Contact a Chicago Pedestrian Accident Attorney
If you were hurt by a car when you were on foot, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to learn about your options. You may need to file a claim with the driver’s insurance or you might need to file a lawsuit. Your attorney will explain your rights and options, including the best and worst case scenarios.
You don’t have to figure out the situation on your own while you’re trying to physically and emotionally recover from the accident. Your attorney can negotiate a settlement on your behalf and guide you through any necessary legal process so that you can focus on getting better.
For more information, call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. today at (312) 236-2900.