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North Carolina Pedestrian Safety Tips

Pedestrian-involved motor vehicle accidents are common in North Carolina and unfortunately, the consequences are often catastrophic.

While walking is part of a healthy lifestyle, like any activity, it comes with risks.

You can help prevent accidents if you make yourself aware of those risks and familiarize yourself with North Carolina traffic laws that affect both motorists and pedestrians.

Pedestrian Crossing Safety Tips

Most traffic laws pertain to motor vehicles, but some also apply to pedestrians, depending on the circumstances.

Several safety tips apply to pedestrian crossings.

Obey Traffic Signals

One of the most essential pedestrian safety tips is to obey all traffic signals. Most importantly, the WALK and DON’T WALK signals. North Carolina traffic laws subject pedestrians to traffic signals to control the flow of traffic. The WALK signal gives pedestrians the right-of-way to proceed across the roadway. You should not attempt to cross the road when the DON’T WALK signal is illuminated. 

The Right of Way

Generally, vehicles and bicycles must yield to pedestrians. However, people don’t always do as they should. So it is imperative that as a pedestrian, you also stop before proceeding into the roadway and look both ways before crossing the street.

Crossing at a Crosswalk

Often pedestrian traffic signals are absent or inoperable. For example, less busy roads often do not have traffic lights and therefore do not have pedestrian traffic signals. Drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within crosswalks. Additionally, if a car is stopped at a crosswalk to allow a pedestrian to cross, drivers traveling behind that vehicle are prohibited from passing. 

Crossing Outside of a Crosswalk

Although pedestrians generally have the right of way, it does not allow them to cross the street when and however they choose. When crossing a road at a point without a marked or unmarked crosswalk, pedestrians must yield to vehicles. Or, if pedestrians cross outside an intersection altogether, they are expected to yield to cars instead of vice versa. Further, pedestrians may not walk in or along the road if a sidewalk is present.

Other Tips

Let’s look at a few more tips for staying safe. 

  • When crossing the street, try to make eye contact with drivers so you know they see you;
  • Wear reflective or bright-colored clothing;
  • When walking at night, carry a flashlight; and 
  • Do not disrupt traffic by walking or standing on the road.

You can visit the North Carolina Department of Transportation website to learn more about pedestrian injuries and safety tips.

Pedestrian Safety Tips for Drivers

In these accidents, the pedestrian is typically much more vulnerable to severe injuries than someone driving a car, but the driver can still suffer physical and emotional trauma from the crash. As a driver, it is equally essential to be mindful of pedestrian safety tips. By staying alert and following a few relatively simple safety tips, you can help to prevent a tragedy.

Be Mindful and Watchful for Children

Unlike adults, children are much more vulnerable to pedestrian accidents. As a driver, it is essential to be extra cautious when driving through school zones, near parks or playgrounds, and while stopped around a school bus. 

Proceed Cautiously When Backing Up

You should be extra careful whether you are backing out of a driveway or parking spot. Proceed slowly and with caution. Always check your mirror and rear window before and during backing out. Be especially mindful of smaller children you cannot see from your rearview window.

Be Mindful of Driving Conditions

Wet weather and slick roads always add an element of danger when driving, but it can pose even more of a risk to pedestrians. Certain weather conditions can make slowing down or stopping your vehicle more challenging. You want to ensure ample stopping time and distance to avoid pedestrians on the roadway.

Avoid Unnecessary Distractions 

While the dangers of distracted driving are well known, many people still choose to talk or text while driving. Drivers need to be vigilant when in neighborhoods with heavy pedestrian traffic. 

North Carolina Pedestrian Accident Attorneys

The truth is even with the best pedestrian safety tips and preparedness, accidents happen. If someone else’s negligence caused the accident, they may be liable for your injuries. If you or someone you love are involved in a pedestrian accident in North Carolina, you should consult with an experienced attorney. At the Law Offices of Naomi Ellis, PLLC, we can evaluate whether you might have a valid claim for damages. Contact us to schedule a personalized one-on-one free consultation.

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My practice focuses exclusively on personal injury law, including cases involving motor vehicle collisions, wrongful death, and catastrophic injuries. I understand the difficulties and stresses an accident and injury can place on a person’s life and I work hard every day to ensure my clients are fairly compensated for their losses.

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