Dear Reader,

Recently, I came across an article on www.nbcwashington.com discussing how last year alone, fifteen pedestrians were killed while crossing the road at designated crosswalks. These were not people jaywalking or darting into traffic unexpectedly.  These pedestrians were killed while following the law, waiting their turn at a crosswalk, and moving forward into an intersection when they were instructed to do so.

This is insanity.

Fifteen lives were ended. Fifteen families devastated.

Why?

Because of drivers who were in too much of a hurry or too distracted to pay attention to their surroundings.

With the latest pedestrian death came a new set of articles and interviews and yet another county initiative focused on pedestrian safety.  This time, they intend to place new signs at crosswalks in the hopes of snagging drivers’ attention.

The truth is that our roads were designed with drivers in mind. Too many roads that go through residential neighborhoods have posted speeds that are too fast, sidewalks that are too narrow, and crosswalks that are not well-defined and, therefore, not as visible to drivers.

There is little we can do to change these facts, but as drivers, there is a lot we can do to prevent the tragic death of an innocent pedestrian simply trying to cross the street.

When you’re driving in the city and especially near residential areas:

  • Always Yield to Pedestrians: When approaching crosswalks or intersections, be prepared to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. Even if there isn’t a marked crosswalk, pedestrians have the right to cross at intersections.
  1. Come to a Full Stop: When you see a pedestrian waiting to cross, come to a complete stop. Allow them to cross the road safely before proceeding.
  2. Be Vigilant at Crosswalks: Pay extra attention in areas with marked crosswalks. Look for pedestrians who may be crossing and be prepared to stop well in advance.
  3. Follow Traffic Signals: Obey traffic signals and signs. If pedestrian signals indicate “Walk” or “Don’t Walk,” respect these signals and act accordingly.
  4. Look for Pedestrians Before Turning: Before making a turn at an intersection, check for pedestrians in the crosswalk. Ensure that the path is clear before proceeding.
  5. Avoid Distractions: Minimize distractions while driving. Put your phone down, or better yet, put it in the back seat out of reach.
  6. Use Caution in Parking Lots: Pedestrians may be walking between cars, and their visibility can be limited.
  7. Reduce Speed in Residential Areas: Slow down when driving in residential neighborhoods or school zones. This is important whether you are at a crosswalk or not. Children are impulsive. If one darts into the road after a kicked soccer ball,  you could save a life because you choose to drive cautiously and slowly through a neighborhood or near a park.
  8. Be Patient: Allow pedestrians sufficient time to cross, especially if they are elderly, have young children, or have mobility challenges.
  9. Be extra careful in Low-Light Conditions: Pedestrians may be less visible, so scan crosswalks and intersections carefully.
  10. Stop for School Buses: When a school bus is stopped with its stop sign extended and lights flashing, YOU STOP AS WELL. Children will be crossing the road. Let them get home safely.
  11. Exercise Caution in Busy Areas: Stay alert in busy urban areas with high pedestrian activity. Be particularly mindful at intersections and crosswalks in these environments.

You NEVER want to be responsible for ending someone’s life because you made bad choices on the road. Commit to driving safely and being a respectful and accountable driver. 

Lastly, if you or someone you love is injured in a crosswalk, please call my office at 703-761-4343 or 301-949-1515.  With over 44 years of experience fighting for the rights of accident victims, I am here for you and ready to help in every way I can.

Until next time, please be safe, and NEVER text while driving!

Paul Samakow

Attorney Paul Samakow

703-761-4343 or 301-949-1515

 

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