Pedestrian safety is a long-standing concern in the Lone Star State. The general rules of the road protect everyone, regardless of whether they're behind the wheel or strolling down the sidewalk.
However, pedestrian accidents happen, and they are more common than most people think. Motor vehicle drivers must yield to pedestrians on a marked or unmarked crosswalk. The person behind the wheel has to stop and give the right of way to anyone crossing the street.
Even if there's no crosswalk, the driver must exercise due care to avoid colliding with pedestrians on the roadway. The passerby and the motorist must share this responsibility to look out for each other.
How Common Are Pedestrian Accidents in Texas?
The statistics surrounding pedestrian accidents in Texas are eye-opening.
These accidents result in severe injuries or, tragically, even loss of life. The frequency of the crashes is a solid reason for concern.
There are several factors contributing to pedestrian accident cases in Texas, such as:
1. Distracted Driving
Drivers must pay full attention to the road in front of them. Using smartphones or being preoccupied with passengers is a leading cause of such crashes.
2. High Traffic Areas
Texas cities are famous for their bustling streets, and this heavy traffic can increase the chances of a pedestrian accident. Ironically, crosswalks and intersections are hotspots for such incidents.
3. Nighttime Visibility
Poor visibility during the night is a big reason for pedestrian accidents. Dark clothing and lack of street lighting can make it hard for the vehicle operator to spot the passersby.
4. Drunk Driving
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in Texas and other states. Still, many motor vehicle drivers ignore the laws and continue putting themselves and pedestrians at risk. Motorists must be responsible and not go behind the wheel when intoxicated.
Also, passersby who notice a careless driver should immediately contact the authorities. Early detection and prevention can save many lives.
Texas has various initiatives to raise awareness and promote road safety. These include public education campaigns, law enforcement efforts, and improvements in pedestrian infrastructure.
Still, both pedestrians and motor vehicle drivers play a role in keeping everyone safe on the roads. Passersby should maintain caution when crossing streets. They should not be preoccupied with their phones while using intersections.
On the other hand, automobilists must yield to pedestrians and avoid distractions.
Who Are Considered Pedestrians?
Contrary to popular belief, only people crossing the road while walking are not considered pedestrians. They come in many forms, and the legal definition branches into different categories.
The most common type of pedestrian includes people crossing the road on foot. The actions may include walking, running, jogging, or strolling. Passersby on foot must use crosswalks and intersections as the law states.
People with Disabilities
Anyone using mobility aids such as wheelchairs, walkers, and scooters is also a pedestrian. People with disabilities can use marked crosswalks and curb ramps.
Such areas also have special pedestrian control signal laws. Motor vehicle drivers must be extra cautious when this category of passerby is on the roadway.
Surprisingly, bicyclists who dismount and walk their vehicles are also pedestrians in Texas. In this case, anyone who gets off their bicycle to cross an intersection diagonally automatically becomes a pedestrian.
As a result, the same right-of-way laws apply to them, and drivers must pay attention to the official traffic control signal.
Kids who are not old enough to drive are pedestrians in Texas. Motorists driving around school zones and residential neighborhoods must exercise heightened awareness.
This last category caters to people who commute on rollerblades, skateboards, or other recreational devices.
When Do Pedestrians Have the Right of Way?
All kinds of people on foot have an automatic right of way in Texas at marked crosswalks and intersections. Drivers must safely let pedestrians walk through a traffic-controlled area with a green signal.
On the other hand, the road laws in Texas demand that drivers yield half of the roadway to pedestrians when two lanes of traffic move in the same direction. This means that one lane should stop to let passersby walk safely.
There is a traffic control signal present at every intersection in Texas. Pedestrians and drivers have a shared responsibility to follow the rules.
The former party should wait for the signal to turn green or show a 'walk' symbol. Conversely, automobilists must wait for the pedestrians to clear the crosswalk before they make any turns.
What to Do Right After a Pedestrian Accident
Being involved in a Texas pedestrian accident is distressing. However, victims must know what steps to take right after such an incident.
1. Safety First
The safety of all parties is the top priority. Anyone involved in such an accident should first move to a safe location.
The driver must pull over from the traffic and call 911 to report the crash. Contacting the authorities will also automatically create an official police report, which can be valuable in legal proceedings. They should also call first responders to help the injured victim.
2. Exchange Information
If possible, the victim and driver should exchange contact and insurance information. The list should include names, phone numbers, addresses, and insurance details.
3. Document the Scene
Witness testimonies are valuable pieces of information during legal proceedings. Those involved in the pedestrian crossing accident should collect statements from passersby.
4. Attorney Consultation
It is wise to hire a personal injury lawyer if there are disputes over liability or the accident causes severe injuries. A qualified attorney can provide legal advice and represent the client's interests in court if necessary.
How Can Pedestrians Prevent Crashes with Motor Vehicle Drivers?
Road safety is a shared responsibility. All parties on the roadway must take proactive measures to prevent accidents. Being aware of safety practices and following state guidelines can keep motorists and passersby safe.
Using Designated Intersections
Pedestrians may use designated crosswalks when walking on busy streets. A traffic control device usually oversees this section. These areas are visible to drivers from all directions.
Obeying Traffic Signals
All parties should respect traffic signals and crossing signs. Pedestrians should wait for the 'walk' symbol that indicates it's safe to cross. Being patient is critical in high-traffic areas.
The easiest way pedestrians can alert drivers is by wearing bright or reflective clothing, especially at night. They can also use a flashlight or carry neon accessories to increase visibility in dimly lit areas.
All drivers must yield half of the roadway to pedestrians when traffic moves in the same direction in two lanes.
Still, many motorists ignore the rules, putting passersby at risk. Although state regulations exist for safety, pedestrians shouldn't expect drivers to yield the right of way.
Instead, they must stay extra cautious and always look both ways to ensure no vehicles are approaching.
A Texas Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Can Help Victims Recover Compensation
Pedestrian accident cases are tiring. Determining liability when the passerby and driver share fault can complicate the lawsuit. In this event, an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer can help victims fight for their rights.
Educated attorneys have the skills and resources to investigate the accident and establish who is at fault. They can discover whether the crash was because of the driver, a pedestrian, a third party, or a combination of the three.
Many people think pedestrians always have the right of way in Texas, but that is untrue. According to Texas law, all parties share responsibility for maintaining road safety. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can help explain What happens if you hit a pedestrian jaywalking in Texas?
A lawyer can pull apart the intricacies of such cases and present substantial evidence to court. They can also help victims recover compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
Having legal representation provides a sense of security and guidance throughout the lawsuit.
Does Texas Have Laws for Traffic Control Signals?
Traffic control signals are an essential part of road safety. Texas, like all US states, has laws and regulations, too.
Drivers must come to a complete stop at a red light. There are no excuses for breaking this rule.
Pedestrians, simultaneously, must not cross the street when the signal is red.
Failing to follow the traffic rules can result in violations. Running a red light or ignoring pedestrian control signals can lead to fines and penalties.
Like other states, Texas prioritizes road safety and has laws everyone must follow. However, pedestrians do not always have the right of way, especially when they are at fault for an accident.
Similar to motorists, pedestrians must exercise due care to avoid collisions with automobiles. They must be mindful of their surroundings and make responsible decisions when crossing roadways. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can help with other questions such as What are the most common causes of pedestrian accidents?
Drivers, on the other hand, have a shared responsibility to watch for pedestrians and yield the right of way as required by law.
The key takeaway is that while passersby have the right of way in many scenarios, safety and accident prevention are collective efforts.
Anyone involved in such complicated cases can seek legal assistance from the experienced lawyers at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys.
With a slogan that says, ''We Go to War for You,'' the personal injury experts at this law firm can help victims recover financial compensation for their injuries and losses.