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Pedestrian right-of-way and other safety tips

Many of us have been in the situation where we are driving down the road and see a pedestrian trying to cross. Should we stop and let the person cross? What if the other driver doesn't stop and we put the pedestrian in harm's way? Does the pedestrian ever have the right-of-way?

Here is the law in Mississippi:

  • Drivers must yield to pedestrians who are crossing the roadway and are within a marked crosswalk or an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.
  • Pedestrians must yield to vehicles when they are crossing outside of a marked crosswalk or an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.

Therefore, pedestrians have the right of way when they are in a marked crosswalk or an unmarked crosswalk. All intersections of streets are usually considered to be unmarked crosswalks, even if there are no painted crosswalk lines on the roads.

Now that school is back in session, is a great time to revisit tips for keeping pedestrians safe. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a pedestrian is killed every two hours and injured every seven minutes in car accidents throughout the United States.

Last year, 63 traffic fatalities took place in Mississippi. The Mississippi Department of Transportation is trying to reduce this number in coming years by educating the public and taking on projects that promote pedestrian safety.

A few safety tips MDOT has for pedestrians include:

  • Always follow the rules of the road, including all signs and signals.
  • Stay on sidewalks when they are available.
  • Stay alert and don't be distracted by electronic devices.
  • Watch for cars backing out of driveways and parking stalls, which is when many pedestrian accidents occur.
  • Cross the street at designated crosswalks or intersections. When this is not possible, find a well-lit area and wait for a break in traffic that will allow you to cross safely.
  • Stay visible to drivers by wearing bright and reflective clothing. Carry a flashlight at night.
  • Make eye contact with the driver before stepping out into the street. Don't assume that the driver sees you and will stop.

Drivers can do their part to keep pedestrians safe by following these tips from MDOT:

  • Slow down and use extra caution when there is poor visibility or driving conditions.
  • Be prepared to stop when approaching a crosswalk.
  • Always yield to pedestrians in unmarked and marked crosswalks.
  • Never pass vehicles stopped as crosswalks.
  • Obey the speed limit, especially when there are people out on the roads.
  • Follow reduced speed limits, such as in school zones.

If a pedestrian accident occurs, victims often suffer serious injuries. They will need a personal injury lawyer to make sure that they are fully compensated for their medical bills, lost wages and other losses.

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