Winter is a difficult time for both drivers and pedestrians. Slippery surfaces and poor visibility combine to make crossing or walking beside the road especially hazardous. As a pedestrian, it’s important to exercise extra caution to avoid being hit by a car. Never assume that motorists are looking out for you because they could be distracted or focused on other motor vehicles. Stay safe this winter by following these tips:
Stay off the Road During Storms
During heavy snowfall, visibility is poor and the roads are slippery. Snowfall makes you less visible to motorists and by the time they see you, the slippery conditions may prevent them from stopping in time. When crossing the road, time it so that cars won’t have to brake for you. Use pedestrian crosswalks with light signals when available. Don’t assume that cars will automatically stop for you, however.
Don’t Walk Along the Road When Snowbanks Cover the Shoulder
When the shoulder is covered by snowbanks, you have no place to walk except in the travel lane with the motor vehicle traffic. This is extremely dangerous at any time of the year. The risks are further increased when attempting this at night.
Look Both Ways When Crossing the Street
It’s especially important to observe this practice in the winter when headgear such as a hood can impede your vision. You might want to momentarily take off your hood for a better view.
Be Aware of Poor Visibility Conditions
Snowfall isn’t the only poor visibility situation. Exhaust plumes from cars and blowing snow spindrift will also make you difficult to see.
Take Precautions Against Slips and Falls
Wear proper footwear with good traction in snow. Don’t carry things in your hands because it interferes with maintaining balance. Stay focused by watching your step as well as the traffic. A fall while crossing a busy street could be fatal.
Use Sidewalks When Available
Sidewalks keep you off the road and away from traffic.
Don’t Climb Over Snow Banks
Children playing on snow banks risk falling into the road in front of motor vehicles. Adults face the same risk when climbing a snow bank to enter or exit a street.
Allow Cars More Distance for Stopping
Slippery road conditions mean that motor vehicles require more stopping distance. Don’t immediately step into the road when a pedestrian crosswalk signals you to cross. Make sure the traffic is stopped first. Stepping in front of a moving car may not allow it sufficient braking distance.
If a reckless or negligent motorist injured you while walking, seek the legal advice of a Prince George’s County accident attorney. Contact us today at the Law Offices of John Critzos, II.
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