Monday February 2, 2015

Winter Walking: Tips on Staying Safe as a Pedestrian

Authored by: Rilla Banks Posted in: Personal Injury

If you’re a pedestrian in Nova Scotia, you know that getting through winter can be tough: sidewalks can go unplowed for days, visibility makes black ice hard to see, and the biting sea breeze doesn’t help.  What’s more, as a pedestrian you should always be alert to the potential danger of getting struck by a vehicle while crossing the road. Below are a few tips to keep in mind.

Pedestrians must obey the law.

The Motor Vehicle Act states that pedestrians have the right of way when they are lawfully within a crosswalk, or are stopped facing a sidewalk. It is also against the law for a driver to pass another vehicle that is already stopped at a crosswalk.

Pedestrians, though, also have duties. You should never cross without a green light or flashing walk sign at an intersection with traffic lights. You also have a duty to make sure that you can safely cross the road before you step out into the crosswalk, even if the light is “walk”. You should not proceed to cross the street until you have decided that the driver will be able to stop in time for you – do not assume that a driver will stop especially in the winter when roads are slippery and visibility is poor. After all, as a pedestrian you are much more vulnerable to injuries than a driver.

Always cross inside the lines.

A lot of people jaywalk. It is against the law, but it’s a fact of life. In the wintertime, though, you need to be extra careful about doing this. You could slip and fall after you have left the sidewalk, and drivers may not be able to see you in the dark or due to low visibility. If you are struck by a vehicle when you are not crossing in a proper crosswalk, you may be found to have contributed to your injury. This means that any compensation you might receive for being struck and injured could be reduced as a result of your own actions.

Consider extra safety measures.

Some crosswalks have better street lighting than others. Some crosswalks have lights that begin to flash when you press the “walk” button. Consider going out of your way to take advantage of these safer crossing locations. It may take a little bit more time, but could be well worth it to minimize your risk of getting hit.

If you have been hit.

Getting hit by a car is something most people never hope to experience. Unfortunately, it can happen. If you are hit, get yourself to safety immediately, if you are able to. Call the police if you have a cell phone, or ask someone to do it for you. It is important to write down the driver’s name, phone number, and insurance information. If there is anyone nearby who may have seen or heard the accident, ask for their contact information too because they may eventually be needed as witnesses. Next, and before you speak to anyone from an insurance agency, it is a good idea to speak with a personal injury lawyer to talk about your legal options. If you were struck when you were not in a crosswalk, you may still have options. Finally, and most importantly, focus on doing everything you can to recover from your injuries.

Connect with a member of our team today to schedule your free consultation. To contact a member of our Personal Injury team call us at 902-469-9500 or 1-866-339-3400.

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