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Kristina Labanauskas
Kristina Labanauskas
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Man v. Car: Pedestrian Safety Tips

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On Tuesday morning, a pedestrian was struck and killed by a car while crossing the street on the Chicago’s South Side.

In 2006, there were 138 pedestrian fatalities in Illinois alone. Nationally, 4,784 pedestrians were killed and 61,000 were injured in traffic crashes. An average of one pedestrian is killed in a traffic crash every 110 minutes and one is injured every 9 minutes.

Unless you are made of steel, in most cases a car will beat a pedestrian every time. In light of this fact, pedestrians must be extra cautious anywhere vehicles are present, whether in the city, suburbs, rural areas or parking lots. Here are some tips for staying safe in the streets:

Be aware of your surroundings: too often people are walking and talking on the cell phone, texting, listening to music, reading the paper, and so on.

If there is a crosswalk, stay within its lines.

Do not cross in the middle of the street if there are traffic controls and/or crosswalks; cross in the areas designated for foot traffic.

Wear bright colored clothing, especially if walking at night or in dimly lit areas.

If there are traffic signals, pay attention to them; often it is tempting to cross the street when the warning light is flashing, but this can be dangerous.

Look for cars turning on a red light; for example, you might have the green light and the right of way, but a driver making a right turn on a red light might not see you or might not even look for you as he or she is likely looking for traffic coming from his or her left.

Green lights might not always mean go; always look for traffic before crossing: for example, some intersections have lights with left-turn (or even right turn) green arrows. So, even if you have a green light, traffic might be approaching with a green arrow and technically that traffic has the right of way. Therefore, pay close attention to the “walk” and “don’t walk” indicators.

Continue looking in both directions until you are safely across the street; unfortunately, you can’t always rely on other drivers paying attention or abiding by their traffic signals.

Even if you have the right of way, if you see a car that does not have the right of way but appears to be coming anyway, do NOT proceed. It is never a good idea to play chicken with a moving vehicle.

If you have been injured in an accident with a motor vehicle, the other driver, whether he or she received a ticket or not, may be liable for your injuries. Discuss whether you should pursue a lawsuit with a licensed attorney.