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Don't become a statistic: Prevent pedestrian accidents

Being a pedestrian in California can be dangerous these days. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, the state has seen a drastic increase in the number of pedestrian-vehicle accidents. Fatalities are common -- rising more than 32% between 2012 and 2016. In addition, over 14,000 pedestrians were injured in 2016 alone.

When a vehicle and a pedestrian collide, the pedestrian always comes out of the situation worse off than the driver of a vehicle, so it's important to do everything you can to avoid becoming part of the statistics.

When you're walking around town or elsewhere in the state, follow these safety tips:

1. Put down your phone.

While you're at it, take out at least one of your earphones. Talking, texting, playing Pokemon Go and listening to music while you walk, divert your attention from the traffic around you and puts you at risk.

2. Make use of crosswalks.

Go the extra distance it takes to find a traffic light and crosswalk whenever possible. Crossing at an unmarked spot puts you in unnecessary danger. Even when you do use a crosswalk, don't assume that drivers turning left onto the street will stop until you see them do it. Look left, then right, then left again before you step off the curb.

3. Don't walk while intoxicated.

Drugs and alcohol can make you oblivious to danger and cause you to be reckless. If you aren't sober, get a Lyft or Uber ride home rather than take a chance.

4. Make an effort to be visible.

If you have to walk in the dark, try to plan your path so that you're always in a well-lit area. Wear bright or reflective clothing and carry a flashlight for extra visibility.

Despite your best efforts, you can still end up in an auto-pedestrian accident. If that happens, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses.

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