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Critical tips to keep pedestrians safe around cars

You have a near-miss leaving a casino. You step out into the street, at a crosswalk, and a driver runs through and almost hits you. It's close enough to feel the wind on your face. They don't even stop. You stand there, staring after the car and thinking about how close you came to the end of your life -- or, at least, a trip to the hospital with some serious injuries.

It makes you think. What can you do to protect yourself around cars? One simple error, made by some other driver, could have huge ramifications in your life. You clearly can't trust all drivers to act safely and responsibly, but what can you do on your end to avoid injury? Here are a few important tips that may help:

  • Always use crosswalks. You know from experience that this isn't perfect, but it does help. If you can, use a light-controlled crosswalk. Wait for the proper symbol and then cross.
  • If you have to walk in the road -- maybe there is not a sidewalk -- you want to face the oncoming traffic. Do not walk with traffic, even though that is the way that you ride a bike. Pedestrians always face traffic.
  • Watch out for other pedestrians and cyclists. Don't get lost in thought or listen to music so loudly that you have no situational awareness. Joggers, runners and cyclists could all cross your path.
  • Wear bright clothes during both the day and night. At night, wear clothes with reflective material and/or carry a light. Do all that you can to make yourself highly visible. A lot of accidents happen because drivers just do not see pedestrians.
  • Limit unpredictable actions. Think about how drivers see you and what they expect, and then act in a predictable fashion. All it takes is a split second of confusion for an accident.
  • Put away your mobile devices. As noted, you don't want to listen to loud music on your headphones. Don't make phone calls. Don't check your text messages while you cross the road. Remember that distraction takes lives. Stay focused on what you're doing and the traffic around you.
  • Keep your eyes up. If you're walking and talking with someone else, don't turn to talk to them. Don't watch your feet as you walk. Stay aware of everything that is happening. You may spot serious hazards before a crash.

These tips do help. Again, though, your experience in the crosswalk shows you that accidents still do happen. If you get hit and you suffer some serious injuries, take the time to look into all of your legal options. You may deserve compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other costs.

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