How to stay safe when walking in California

Pedestrian-involved accidents are all too common in California, but there are several steps walkers can take to help stay safe.

In embracing an eco-friendly transportation option, seeking to improve their health, enjoying the outdoors or just out of necessity, more people are out walking in the state of California. Unfortunately, however, collisions involving pedestrians and motor vehicles in the state are all too common, and often have devastating consequences for walkers. In fact, the California Office of Traffic Safety reports more than 14,000 walkers suffered injuries in 2016 and the rate of pedestrian fatalities saw a nearly 6% increase from the previous year.

Stay in pedestrian-designated areas

There are certain areas along the roads where drivers expect to see pedestrians, including on the sidewalk and in crosswalks. When walking, people should stay in areas designated for pedestrians, as well as obey the road rules, signs and signals. If there is no sidewalk, it is recommended that people walk against traffic and as far away from the lanes of traffic as possible. Being predictable may help drivers know what to expect of them, and thus, may help prevent some serious accidents.

Dress for visibility

Many pedestrian-involved accidents occur because drivers simply did not see the walker. Although they cannot make themselves bigger, people can dress to increase their visibility when walking. It is a good idea to wear brightly colored clothing during the day. If people are walking at night, they should wear reflective materials and use a flashlight.

Be alert

Whether walking or jogging to get from one place to the next, or for exercise, pedestrians often listen to music, podcasts or other audio on their phones or electronic devices. However, it is important for people to avoid distractions while walking or jogging in order to help avoid potentially serious struck-by-car collisions. Using their senses, including listening to what is going on around them and keeping their eyes on the road, is vital for pedestrians to spot and respond to hazardous situations that may occur around them.

Obtain legal counsel

Without the exterior protections afforded by their vehicles to drivers and passengers in California, pedestrians who are involved in accidents often suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries. Under some circumstances, the motorists responsible for such collisions may be held financially liable. Therefore, those who have suffered injuries due to accidents while walking, as well as families who have lost loved ones as a result of pedestrian-involved collisions may benefit from discussing their rights and options for pursuing compensation with a lawyer.