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Pedestrians: At risk on the roads and in crosswalks

For pedestrians, paying attention isn't always enough to prevent a traffic accident. Drivers come from seemingly nowhere in some cases, hitting pedestrians who had every right to cross the street. Sometimes, it comes down to poor crosswalks, and other times, it's a result of negligence.

For the elderly, crossing the street is a particular hazard. For example, one woman, 77, claims that she can't get through a crosswalk quickly and isn't agile enough to dodge a vehicle if the driver comes through unexpectedly. Some drivers notice her, but they still pass through the intersection because she's not in their direct path. That's illegal.

When pedestrians are a crosswalk, it's important for drivers to stop before the crosswalk to allow them to pass. Not only that, but drivers should wait until the pedestrian has crossed completely before they continue on their way. Why? This keeps pedestrians safe, keeping a barrier between them and vehicles behind the stopped driver.

Walking is dangerous even in cities where pedestrians are a common sight. Between 2003 and 2012, 47,025 pedestrians were killed across the nation. Another 676,000 suffered injuries.

What can you do to stay safe?

Remember that drivers aren't always paying attention. Before you cross, take the time to look both ways and to listen for oncoming traffic. Try to cross at intersections when possible, using the traffic signals as a guide if there is no crosswalk signal. If you do get hit, remember to get as much information about the driver as possible; that way, if he or she flees, you'll have a way to seek compensation. Our website has more on what to do if you're hit.

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