Pedestrian and Driver Responsibilities When Commuting: What’s YOUR Role in Safety?

Summer is just around the corner, and with days getting longer and the school year winding to a close, pedestrian safety should be front of mind for Albertans. Speeding, distracted driving and other unsafe behaviours put everyone at risk, especially pedestrians who lack the added protection of a vehicle when commuting. While collisions involving pedestrians have decreased 60% from 2015 to 2020, in Edmonton and Calgary, pedestrian accidents still account for 18% of motor vehicle fatalities and 15% of injury of claims. Staying safe and vigilant while commuting, both as drivers and pedestrians is crucial to reducing risk in our communities, and to lowering the occurrence of pedestrian injury claims.

At James H. Brown and Associates, we understand just how devastating and life-altering traumatic injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents can be for both victims as well as their families. Founded in 1993 after our founder experienced a broken neck as the result of a head-on collision with a drunk driver and had to navigate the claims and healthcare system on his own, James H. Brown and Associates is proud to partner with Albertans to ensure you have the injury law support you need when it matters most. Below, we’ll talk about the responsibilities that both drivers and pedestrians face when it comes to staying safe while commuting. Read on to learn more!

Driver Responsibilities

In order to prevent accidents or collisions, drivers need to ensure they are operating their vehicles with heightened awareness at all times. When driven safely, cars are a fantastic mode of transportation, but when we let distractions creep in, or worse, drive impaired, you significantly increase your chance of an accident and pose a risk to everyone around you. Committing to best practices and driving proactively are two of the biggest responsibilities that drivers need to be aware of, as well as:

  • Always driving within the posted speed limit (or below if conditions warrant), especially in residential areas or areas with high pedestrian traffic. This includes being aware of school zones and playgrounds and moderating your speed during posted hours, as well as after dusk when children will be less visible.
  • Exercising caution when lane changing or passing another vehicle.
  • Always use turn signals and shoulder checking before making a manoeuvre
  • Abiding by all traffic signs, lights, and directions.
  • Stopping well before the white lines of a crosswalk to give extra room for pedestrians, as well as waiting for them to finish crossing fully before moving forward.
  • Driving proactively and always ensuring there is clear communication between drivers and pedestrians on the road.
Pedestrian Responsibilities

While pedestrians may not operate heavy vehicles when commuting, they do have their own set of responsibilities and expectations in place to contribute to a safe environment for everyone. As with drivers, awareness and proactivity are key when it comes to avoiding an accident, as are reducing your distractions when walking near high traffic areas. When commuting on foot, be sure to abide by the following:

  • Wait your turn. It can be tempting to dash across the street to catch your bus or to avoid long wait times at a light in congested areas, but doing so is extremely unsafe and puts you, as well as drivers at risk.
  • Always check your path. Regardless of how empty the road may seem, you should always look before you cross. You may have missed a light up ahead changing, or a vehicle turning from another lane just around the corner, and stopping to look can be the difference between a safe commute and a trip to the hospital.
  • Use Crosswalks. Jaywalking and crossing in undesignated areas isn’t just a high-risk activity, it’s also illegal and could leave you facing a pricey ticket.
  • Follow crossing signals. Did you know you’re not supposed to enter an intersection once the red hand has started flashing? If you don’t have enough time to cross safely, or the signals indicate it is unsafe to do so, wait until you have the right signal to walk.
  • Avoid distractions. Music may be the perfect pairing for an afternoon walk, but having your volume up too loud can make you miss important safety signals and put you at risk for injury.
  • Communication and consideration are key. Just as we expect drivers to anticipate and react to our needs, pedestrians need to communicate with drivers to make their intentions to cross clear. Make eye contact where you can to ensure you’ve been seen, cross quickly, and allow cars to turn when exiting from a building or parking lot.
  • Stay alert. The unfortunate reality is that, as a pedestrian, you’re a lot less visible on the road than other vehicles. Never assume a driver knows you’re there, or is paying attention to crosswalks and signals, even though they should be. Your awareness and proactivity are your biggest assets when it comes to being safe!
Getting Help After an Accident

Even with our best efforts in place, pedestrian involved collision do still occur. If you or someone you love have been the victim of an accident and are now experiencing chronic pain or life-altering injuries, James H. Brown and Associates is here to help. Our goal is to partner with Albertans to ensure you always have the right help when it comes to injury law, getting the justice and settlements you deserve, as well as the peace of mind of knowing that your needs are heard and represented when it matters most. To make sure you have the right information and best chances for a settlement on your side, our team of experts will investigate all the circumstances of your accident, carefully study the police report and witness statements and advocate for you to receive fair compensation for your injuries.

If you’re a pedestrian that’s been hit by a motor vehicle in Edmonton, you don’t have to suffer alone. Contact us today to book an injury claim evaluation with James H. Brown and Associates’ injury lawyers.

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