While Texas is not known for being the most walkable state, there are many Texans who travel our cities on foot. Pedestrians are not always the easiest to spot while driving, which can sadly lead to unnecessary pedestrian deaths. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 6,283 pedestrian deaths in the United States in 2018. This is why Texas drivers need to take special precautions and keep pedestrians in mind every time they get out on the road.
Follow these 10 driving safety tips to help keep Texas pedestrians safe:
- Pedestrian safety is a shared responsibility. Both pedestrians and drivers are responsible for pedestrian safety. As a driver, you must watch out for people walking near the road to avoid devastating and deadly accidents.
- Always be on the lookout for pedestrians. Every time you get in the car, take special care to look around and see if there are any people walking nearby, especially in areas where there is heavy foot traffic. Pedestrians may cross the street outside of a crosswalk; and, as a driver you must be prepared for unexpected pedestrian behavior.
- Never drive distracted. Distracted driving kills too many Texans each year and can be incredibly dangerous for pedestrians. A distracted driver is less likely to see a pedestrian crossing the road ahead or just around the corner. This can include texting or answering an email on the phone, adjusting the radio station, looking at a GPS, or eating a cheeseburger from a drive-through. Keep your eyes on the road at all times until you have reached your destination.
- Do not drink and drive. Impaired or intoxicated drivers who have been drinking alcohol or doing drugs make the roads incredibly dangerous for everyone, but especially pedestrians. While driving intoxicated, a driver will have slower reaction times and may not be able to stop in time to prevent hitting a pedestrian. Drinking and driving puts lives at risk and is not worth it – not to mention against the law.
- Follow the speed limit. Speed limits, while a common source of frustration for Texas drivers, are set for a reason. Take care to follow all speed limits – especially in school zones – to give yourself time to react to any adults or children who may come into the road without warning.
- Look out for children. Children can be unpredictable and do not always follow the rules of the road, including ignoring signs, signals, and crosswalks. Children can suddenly run into the street without looking and you have to be ready to react. Be even more cautious when driving near schools or through residential neighborhoods. This also includes stopping for school buses that have stopped to allow children to cross the street. This is a Texas law. Never try to pass a school bus that has stopped.
- Use caution when driving in bad weather. If there are rainy, windy, foggy, dark, or snowy conditions, visibility will decrease making driving more difficult and pedestrians harder to see. Be sure to have your lights on, drive the speed limit, and keep an extra eye out for pedestrians walking through the bad weather. Keep your windshield clear and replace your windshield wipers as necessary.
- Give pedestrians the right of way. Always stop for pedestrians even if they are not crossing in a crosswalk. Some pedestrians jaywalk, ignore traffic signals, dart out into traffic, or behave in other surprising ways. As a driver it is your responsibility to react in time to keep pedestrians safe.
- Practice safe crosswalk etiquette. Always reduce your speed as you approach a crosswalk and yield to a pedestrian if they are waiting to cross. When stopping at a stoplight, do not “block the box” and make sure to leave enough space for a pedestrian to cross outside of the flow of traffic. If there is a crossing guard, always obey their instructions and stop if asked to allow pedestrians to cross. Do not try to go around a car at a crosswalk as they may be allowing a pedestrian to cross. When turning through a crosswalk, reduce your speed and look both ways to make sure a pedestrian isn’t entering the crosswalk as you are turning.
- Be aware of your surroundings when driving in reverse. Even though many cars on the road have back-up cameras, drivers must still be aware of cars and pedestrians around them when backing up. Pedestrians can quickly move into your path; and, if you are not looking you could easily hit them. Check your rearview mirror as well as your side mirrors for pedestrians, children, and pets that can run behind your car in driveways or parking lots.
Every day pedestrians are unnecessarily killed in car accidents. Everyone is a pedestrian at some point during the day and we all deserve to walk safely through our neighborhoods and cities. Pedestrians are at a significant disadvantage in a car accident, as they do not have the protection a car provides. By practicing safe driving habits, we can keep our walkways and streets safe for all who travel.
Houston Pedestrian Accident Attorneys
Being a pedestrian in a car accident can be traumatizing and leave you with serious injuries. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a Houston auto pedestrian accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Contact the personal injury trial attorneys at Adame Garza for a free consultation today. There is limited time to act following a Texas car accident, so don’t delay.