Sharing the road: Safety tips for pedestrians in Texas

Not all pedestrian accidents in Texas can be prevented; however, there are steps people can take when walking to help improve their safety.

Whether for exercise, to get from one place to another or just to enjoy the weather, people throughout Texas often walk and jogs alongside the roads traveled by vehicles. Unfortunately, collisions involving pedestrians and automobiles occur all too often, and frequently result in serious injuries or death for the foot-travelers. In fact, the Texas Department of Transportation reported 678 pedestrian deaths across the state in 2016 alone, and many more people suffered personal injury in such accidents. While not all pedestrian accidents can be prevented, there are several steps people can take to help improve their safety when walking or jogging.

Dress to be seen

Often, pedestrian-involved collisions are a result of drivers not seeing the foot-travelers they strike. Therefore, people are advised to dress for optimal visibility when they are walking or jogging. During the day, it is recommended that pedestrians wear brightly colored clothing. At night, people should wear reflective clothing or materials or use a flashlight.

Use pedestrian walkways

When they take to the street, pedestrians generally may assume that the vehicles will stay in the appropriate lanes of traffic. Likewise, motorists may anticipate that any foot-travelers will be in the areas designated for pedestrians, such as on sidewalks or crosswalks. As such, it is suggested that walkers and joggers use designated walkways whenever possible. In areas where there is no sidewalk, pedestrians should stay as far away from the traveling vehicles as they are able and walk facing traffic.

Be predictable

It can be difficult for motorists and walkers to know each other's intentions on the road. Thus, just as pedestrians expect drivers to follow the rules of the road, motorists expect the same from foot-travelers. Acting in accordance with these rules, as well as obeying the signals and signs on the road, may help drivers to anticipate their actions and avoid unintentionally striking them.

Avoid distractions

Particularly when they are exercising, walkers and joggers often use electronic devices. This may be dangerous, however, as it may take their eyes, ears and attention off the road. As a result, people may not see or hear potential hazards, and thus, they may be unable to react and avoid being struck by a vehicle. Therefore, it is recommended that pedestrians refrain from listening to headphones, looking at their phones or otherwise engage in distracting behaviors while they are on the road.

Seeking legal assistance

When vehicles strike pedestrians in Texas and elsewhere, the results can be devastating. They may suffer severe injuries, which require time off work to recover and extensive medical treatment. Consequently, people who experience such situations often incur undue medical expenses, as well as lost wages. Depending on the circumstances, however, the drivers in such accidents may be held liable. Therefore, those who have experienced such situations may benefit from consulting with an attorney at Winckler & Harvey, LLP to discuss their options for pursuing financial compensation.