Pedestrian crashes continue to be a significant problem. In the last couple of years, the CDC has reported that approximately one pedestrian dies every 75 minutes in a motor vehicle crash. Hundreds of thousands more end up in emergency rooms across the country with serious, life-altering injuries.
We have previously discussed how both pedestrians and drivers owe a legal duty of care to avoid causing crashes. Drivers certainly can cause a lot more harm driving a car than a pedestrian. However, pedestrians cannot control what drivers do. They do, however, have the option to be proactive about their own safety to avoid becoming a car crash victim.
If you were injured because of driver negligence, you may be eligible to seek significant compensation. Not sure if you have a valid claim? Take advantage of our free case review to get answers to your legal questions. There is no risk to you and, if you choose our firm to represent you, there are also no upfront costs.
What Are Michigan’s Crosswalk Laws and How Do They Apply to Pedestrians?
Michigan has several statewide laws and local rules to help protect pedestrians. In general, drivers must yield to a pedestrian who is in a crosswalk and going across the road.
Drivers Do Not Have to Stop if a Pedestrian is Not in a Crosswalk Area
If a pedestrian is not already in the crosswalk area, a driver is not legally required to stop. This is where pedestrians may be confused. Many people think they can step into a crosswalk and drivers must immediately yield to them. This is an extremely dangerous belief.
Pedestrians should never walk out into a crosswalk expecting traffic to stop, even if there is a signal to walk. Pedestrians should always first check for traffic and ensure vehicles approaching the crossing area intend to stop. This helps to avoid being hit by a distracted or impaired driver who ignores traffic control signals.
Keeping that in mind, additional crosswalk rules include:
- Drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within an intersection or crosswalk where a signal to walk displays
- Drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians when a traffic control signals that pedestrians may walk. The pedestrian “walk” signal indicates that a pedestrian may enter the roadway and cross in the direction of the “walk” signal. This does not, however, mean pedestrians should walk into the road when there is no signal and expect drivers to yield.
- Drivers must continue to yield to a pedestrian who is still crossing the road when the walk signal changes
- Vehicles must stop far enough away from a crossing area to not block the view of other drivers. All drivers should be able to see whether a pedestrian is in the road or crossing.
- Vehicles must not pass any other vehicles already stopped at a crosswalk. Doing so may put a pedestrian at risk, especially when vehicles may be stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross.
When Are Pedestrians Most at Risk of Being Hit By a Car?
There are several times when pedestrians are most at risk of being hit by a car or other moving vehicle. Pedestrians can help to protect themselves by being aware of these risks, which include:
- Time of day: Take extra caution during low light hours, especially between the hours of 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Statistically, this hour has been notorious for having the most pedestrian vs car crash incidents.
- Day of the week: Fridays and Sundays, historically, are the two most deadly days of the week for pedestrians.
- Jaywalking or not walking across a designated crossing area: Crossing in areas where there are no pedestrian traffic control signals accounts for over a fourth of all deadly pedestrian crashes each year.
How Can You Be Proactive About Your Safety As a Pedestrian?
As a pedestrian, you can better protect your safety by taking charge of it. This means remembering your duty of care as a pedestrian and also being aware of your surroundings. Engaging in conversation or other activities while walking near the road is distracting and increases the risk of an accident. Our brains are simply not designed to multitask well.
Other proactive measures you can take to improve pedestrian safety include:
- Walking on the sidewalk or designated pathways whenever possible
- Crossing roads in designated crossing areas only
- Being aware that even if you see a vehicle, the driver might not see you
- Always checking for traffic before crossing – even if you have a “go” signal
- Checking that drivers at traffic control lights or road signs are stopping
Contact Our Trusted Law Firm if You Get Injured
Sometimes despite our best efforts, an accident may happen. If you get injured because of another driver’s negligence, we strongly recommend that you seek legal help immediately.
Having an attorney on your side can help to ensure your interests are protected. At Jay Trucks, our car crash lawyers in Grand Rapids have been helping pedestrians and other crash victims for years.
Call to learn more and discuss your situation with one of our qualified attorneys. We are here to help.
Proven Results. (989) 244-0440