Oct 10 2023 |
Pedestrian Safety Tips for Drivers in High-Traffic Areas
It’s no surprise that when pedestrians are involved in motor vehicle accidents, the consequences can be devastating. Pedestrians account for roughly 15-20% of all motor vehicle fatalities in Canada despite being involved in only around 5% of reported accidents. Pedestrian safety in high-traffic areas is everyone’s responsibility, but drivers have a particular duty to keep other road users safe.
In this article, we’ll delve into the importance of pedestrian safety on the road, provide practical safety tips for drivers, offer guidance for pedestrians, and discuss when you should contact a personal injury lawyer.
Why is Pedestrian Safety so Important?
Following the rules of the road and responsible driving habits are important simply because they help to keep people safe. In the context of pedestrian safety, though, it is made all the more vital because of the severity of pedestrian accidents.
According to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation Annual Report, in pedestrian-involved accidents, the pedestrian experienced at least a minimal injury in 98% of reported accidents in 2019. In over 13% of pedestrian-involved accidents, the pedestrian experienced severe injuries or lost their life.
These numbers clearly highlight the need for improved pedestrian safety, especially in high-traffic areas where they are most likely to occur. As drivers, it’s our responsibility to be vigilant and proactive in reducing the risk of accidents and to uphold our duty of care to all users of our roads.
Pedestrian Safety Tips for Drivers
In Ontario, particularly in busy urban centers like Toronto, the behaviour of drivers plays a central role in promoting pedestrian safety. In the majority of pedestrian accidents, the driver is at fault, often caused by violating some traffic regulations.
Here are some essential safety tips that drivers can employ to help make our roads safer for pedestrians:
- Obey Speed Limits: Always adhere to posted speed limits, especially in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic. Reduced speed gives you more time to react to unexpected situations.
- Avoid Distractions: Put away your phone and other distractions while driving. Focused attention on the road is critical for spotting pedestrians.
- Use Your Signals: Use turn signals to communicate your intentions to other road users. Predictable driving behaviour makes it easier for pedestrians to plan for your path.
- Yield to Pedestrians at Crosswalks: Ontario law requires drivers to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks and school crossings. Always keep an eye out for pedestrians when approaching a crosswalk and never try to pass another vehicle stopping at a crosswalk.
- Be Diligent at Intersections: Slow down when approaching intersections and remain diligent in your attention to your surroundings, especially when making turns
- Yield to Buses and Streetcars: Always yield to buses and streetcars when passengers are boarding or exiting so you can be prepared for pedestrians who might be rushing toward or off of these vehicles.
- Exercise Patience: Always avoid aggressive driving behaviours like tailgating or rushing through intersections. Even when you are in a rush, pedestrian safety should always take precedence.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians
While the onus for road safety falls largely on the driver, pedestrians also have a vital role to play in ensuring their safety on the road.
Here are some tips to stay safer while walking in high-traffic areas:
- Use Designated Crosswalks: Cross streets at marked crosswalks whenever possible. Drivers are more likely to anticipate pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections and more likely to miss a jaywalker darting into the street.
- Make Eye Contact: Try to make eye contact with drivers before crossing. This lets you know that they’ve seen you and intend to yield.
- Stay Visible: Wear brightly coloured or reflective clothing, especially at night or in low-light conditions.
- Avoid Distractions: Just like drivers, pedestrians should avoid using phones or other distractions while crossing streets so they can stay attentive to their surroundings.
- Follow Traffic Signals: Obey traffic signals and pedestrian crossing signals to make your actions easier to predict for drivers.
- Watch for Turning Vehicles: Be cautious when crossing at intersections, as drivers may not always yield when turning or may not see you as they check for oncoming traffic.
- Educate Children: Children are disproportionately likely to be involved in pedestrian accidents. Teach children about pedestrian safety from a young age and supervise them near traffic until they can demonstrate safe behaviour when crossing or walking in high-traffic areas.
When to Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
Unfortunately, accidents can still happen despite our best efforts to stay safe on the road. If you’re a pedestrian involved in a motor vehicle accident, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries through your insurance company or by filing a tort claim against the at-fault driver.
Drivers have a legal duty to follow traffic laws and act responsibly to ensure the safety of others. If a driver violates these laws or acts in another way that can be deemed negligent, then you have a right to pursue a claim against them.
A personal injury claim can help you seek compensation for financial losses due to medical expenses or lost income and for the emotional and physical stress of the accident, but it’s better not to go through it alone. A personal injury lawyer from Zayouna Law Firm can help you along every step of your case.
A personal injury lawyer can help to:
- Offer legal experience
- Collect evidence and process documentation
- Negotiate with insurance companies and other legal entities on your behalf
- Represent you in legal hearings, if necessary
If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident in Toronto, don’t hesitate to contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Zayouna Law. We are here to help you navigate the legal process and seek the compensation you deserve following an accident. Contact us today to book a free consultation to discuss your next steps. Together, we can work towards creating a safer environment for all road users in Toronto.