In late January of this year, a 20-year-old student was walking along an Illinois street when a car struck him. According to the Bloomington Pantagraph, the young man died as a result of the incident. The motorist who struck him then fled the scene. After tracking down the driver, law enforcement charged him with driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident involving a death. As a Lake County pedestrian accident attorney knows, alcohol is just one of the factors that play a major role in pedestrian accidents.
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Here are the four ways motorists can exercise caution and avoid such incidents:
1. Put away distractions
According to Illinois Department of Transportation, there were 4,665 crashes that involved injured pedestrians across the state in 2012. An additional 139 incidents were fatal. The majority of such incidents took place on urban roads, many of which occurred on dark roads or in dark conditions.
Drivers wishing to avoid a pedestrian accident should take care to focus on the road and their surroundings, especially when visibility is low. In Illinois, there is a ban against texting while driving. Additionally, no mobile phone use is allowed in a school zone, where children often walk along sidewalks and cross the road. Any other distractions, such as eating and grooming, should also be avoided.
2. Avoid alcohol
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that nearly half of all pedestrian accidents involve alcohol. As a Lake County pedestrian accident attorney may have seen, both intoxicated drivers and inebriated people on foot can play a role in a tragic event. Motorists should practice responsible driving and avoid alcohol consumption before getting behind the wheel.
3. Understand the right-of-way rules
Pedestrians have the right-of-way at marked crosswalks, whether the markings are at an intersection or elsewhere across the road. Pedestrians who are given the signal to cross also have the legal right-of-way.
Beyond legalities, drivers can avoid a collision with pedestrians by exercising caution whenever anyone on foot is nearby. Vehicles should always give enough space to people walking along the road to prevent a crash.
4. Use your signals
Lastly, motorists should always use their lights and turn signals when on the road. Properly working headlights and taillights make the vehicle more visible and alert people on foot that the car is approaching. Additionally, turn signals let pedestrians know a driver’s intentions, which is especially important at intersections or pulling into a driveway along a busy road.
Anyone with questions regarding this matter should consult with a Lake County pedestrian accident attorney.