Given the high number of automobiles on California highways, as well as the traffic hazards they bring, it is not entirely surprising that the state of California is faced with an unfortunately high number of pedestrian injuries and fatalities. According to recent data, the state has seen an annual increase in traffic incidents involving pedestrians since 2006. From a legal perspective, this has also meant more people seeking legal advice to recover damages suffered, therefore that we dedicate this blog to review some of the main risks that pedestrians face in California:
Drivers bear the greatest responsibility in this matter, since they control a multi-ton vehicle, capable of irreversibly injuring a pedestrian. California law expects you to obey speed limits, avoid any possible distractions, and be especially careful in areas with a large influx of pedestrians.
Along with possible driver negligence, there are other risk factors for pedestrians, including:
● The gradual increase of excessive traffic on the highways
● The lack of signage and adequate pedestrian crossings
● The frustrations that drivers can experience behind the wheel
● The increase in possible distractions on the road such as potholes, accidents and closed roads
As far as pedestrian behavior is concerned, the increasing use of smartphones while walking is a considerable risk factor. While drivers have a responsibility to pay attention to the road, it is important that pedestrians also remember their duty to pay attention to their surroundings.
When drivers see a pedestrian approaching, it is essential that they be aware of the space between them and their vehicles. Many drivers take the opposite attitude, if they see a pedestrian waiting or starting to cross, they speed up to avoid being slowed down by the pedestrian.
Behaviors of this type significantly increase the likelihood of an accident and put the pedestrian at risk of serious injury or even death. Pedestrians have the right of way at intersections and crosswalks, and drivers must comply with this. Even if pedestrians are jaywalking, every driver is still expected to take reasonable steps to avoid a crash.