You walk down the street all the time. You pay attention to your surroundings, but you are also complacent. You have walked down and across the street your entire life. You know how a crosswalk works. You are also familiar with the saying that pedestrians have the right-of-way. When the crosswalk changes from the hand symbol into the walking symbol, you know that is your cue to go. These factors can give you a sense of security. Unfortunately, accidents in crosswalks can happen.
How does this relate locally?
In a review of pedestrian dangers, Maryland ranked 15th most dangerous overall. In the cases of marked crosswalks, cars are supposed to yield to pedestrians. In crossing areas that are not marked with lines and do not have signals, pedestrians should actually yield to traffic according to the law.
What can you do as a pedestrian?
- Watch for turning cars. Cars who turn right at red lights pose a risk for pedestrians. The driver may be focused on watching traffic to see if they are able to turn rather than considering pedestrians.
- Do not text. Do not text while attempting to cross the street. If you do need to send a text message, stand on the sidewalk away from the road and out of the way of others.
- Don’t wear headphones. It is nice to listen to music while walking. If you must cross the street, eliminating your ability to hear your surroundings could be hazardous. If you feel you must listen to music on your walk, pause your music, turn down the volume, or leave one ear unobstructed so you can listen to what is happening around you.
- Avoid using electronic devices. Do not operate electronics or make phone calls while using the crosswalk. If you feel you must make a call or engage with an electronic device, move out of the way of other pedestrians and away from traffic.
- Make yourself visible. If you are walking at night or in non-ideal weather conditions, wear light colored or reflective clothing or gear. Walk with a flash light. If you are entering a crosswalk that may have view obstruction, make eye contact with drivers or use a hand signal to make sure drivers see you.