Tips for Walking Safely Around Busy Chicago Streets
Chicago has a large pedestrian population. Many people choose to walk around the city rather than drive in the heavy traffic. Unfortunately, negligent actions of drivers can cause serious pedestrian collisions that result in serious injuries. If you’ve been involved in an accident with a vehicle as a pedestrian in Chicago, a Chicago car accident lawyer from the Krzak Rundio Law Group may be able to help.
Who Has the Right-of-Way on Chicago Streets?
Pedestrians are supposed to have the right-of-way when they’re crossing the road. Additionally, motor vehicle drivers are expected to give pedestrians plenty of room to walk. They’re not supposed to inch closer or try to intimidate pedestrians into moving more quickly. They must also be alert when exiting their cars—in a tight, busy area, a driver can hit a pedestrian or bicyclist with their door when exiting their vehicle. This phenomenon is called “dooring.”
Drivers are supposed to exercise due care when it comes to sharing the road with pedestrians. Failure to do so can result in hefty fines for drivers. But fines should be the least of their concerns. When drivers are negligent, driving aggressively, or distracted they can collide with a pedestrian, who is susceptible to serious injury because there is no protection against the heavy car. Pedestrian accidents can result in catastrophic injuries, including injuries to the head, neck, upper extremities, lower extremities or spinal cord.
Safe Ways to Navigate Chicago on Foot
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 5,987 pedestrian fatalities in 2016, an increase from previous years. The NHTSA has been working to improve the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists so those numbers decrease.
While that number is frightening, you can take measures to stay safe as a pedestrian in a busy city. The NHTSA has provided many helpful tips that remind you to think about other drivers and remain present and focused. They also provide suggestions on how to maneuver in certain situations while walking. These tips can help you remain mindful of what you’re doing and know the dangers and how to avoid them. These tips include:
- Predictability. Walk when drivers would expect you to walk. This includes following traffic signs and also not running out at the last minute. Drivers may not have enough time to stop when people dart out in front of them.
- Sidewalks. If there are sidewalks available, use them. If there are streets without sidewalks, be as far to the side of traffic as you can.
- Walk Against Traffic. If you’re walking in the street, make sure to walk to the side against oncoming traffic so they can see you clearly. Walking with traffic puts your back to cars where they may not be able to see you and you won’t be facing them.
- Use Proper Street Crossings. When walking in a city, only cross at intersections and use crosswalks. Many accidents happen when pedestrians cross in the middle of the road when cars don’t expect them.
- Don’t Make Assumptions. Don’t assume drivers know you’re there. Always check carefully before walking and don’t think that a driver will automatically slow down if you walk out ahead of them. They could be distracted by a cell phone or using the radio and not see you in time to stop the car.
- Don’t Be Distracted. Pedestrians can be distracted when they’re walking, too. If you’re looking at your phone or rifling through a bag, you’re not paying attention to where you’re going. At best, you are risking bumping into a stranger but at worst, you could unknowingly stumble into the street into traffic.
Krzak Rundio Law Group Is Here to Help You
If you’ve been in a pedestrian accident with a negligent driver, you may have grounds to file a claim. Please get in touch with our Chicago office to schedule a free consultation.
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