This month, a Rockville teen was seriously injured when he was hit by an SUV while crossing the street towards a waiting school bus. It appears the bus had its stop arm extended at the time the teen was hit. This story is a good reminder to discuss basic driver and pedestrian safety points.
The opportunities for distractions are nearly endless when driving. Visual distractions, such as the passing scenery, another car accident, or bright lights can take a driver's eyes off the road. Kids squabbling in the back seat, listening to an audiobook, or listening to a heated debate on the radio can provide a cognitive distraction. Taking your hands off the wheel to eat, change the radio station, or pass something to a passenger can also distract a driver. This type of distracted driving is called manual distraction.
These days, however, the most distracting thing we have in our cars is our cell phone. When a person uses their cell phone while driving, it is a combination of cognitive, visual, and manual distractions. Many people think they can drive and respond to a text, read an email, or call a friend without being a danger to themselves or others. But consider this: when driving just 55 miles per hour, a car will travel the length of a football field in five seconds. Five seconds also happens to be the average time it takes to read a text message. The potential to miss slowing traffic, a changing traffic light, or other unanticipated events is great. Over 1,000 accidents a day are caused by distracted drivers. In addition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nine people are killed every day due to distracted driving.
Pedestrians should always use a crosswalk when one is available. Obviously, they should abide by traffic lights when present. However, pedestrians are cautioned to never presume that they are seen. Before crossing the street, even if you are crossing in a crosswalk with a green traffic light, do not presume an oncoming car will stop. In fact, it is safer to presume the driver is distracted until such time as the car slows or comes to a stop. Make eye contact with the driver, if possible.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration also encourages pedestrians to wear brightly colored clothing. At night, using reflective tape or carrying a flashlight can also help alert drivers to your presence. Stay on the sidewalk when one is available. Avoid crossing streets in the middle of the block. Where there is no crosswalk, look for a well-lit area to cross the street.
At Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, we want everyone to stay safe. Unfortunately, not everyone approaches the responsibility of driving with the same level of caution. If you have been injured in a car crash, contact us at 800.529.6162. We may be able to help you with medical costs, lost wages, lost overtime, and other expenses you have incurred, as well as compensation for pain and suffering. We only charge a fee if we successfully obtain compensation for you. Call today.