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Driver’s duty of care: Negligence can cause an accident

As a pedestrian, you never want to think the worst but you must prepare for anything that could go wrong. While you have control over every step you take, you don't know what other people will do. For example, a driver could make a mistake that puts you, among other pedestrians, in a bad situation.

Drivers have the obligation to exercise reasonable care, but that doesn't mean they always do so. Here are some of the most common factors resulting in a pedestrian-car accident:

  • Distracted driving. When a person is distracted, they are unable to keep track of what's happening around them. Distractions, such as texting and driving, can cause an accident.
  • Speeding. Even with a posted speed limit, some drivers don't feel that it's necessary to obey the law.
  • Disobeying traffic signals or signs. For example, failure to stop at a red light could result in a vehicle striking a pedestrian (or pedestrians) in a crosswalk.
  • Failure to yield to pedestrians. Drivers are required by law to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks.
  • Disregard for weather conditions. Weather conditions, such as rain and ice, should alter the way a person drives. This doesn't always happen, such as someone continuing to drive too fast when the roadways are slick.
  • Driving under the influence. Alcohol, illegal drugs and prescription drugs make it difficult for a driver to exercise good judgment.

You can control your actions

You don't have any control over drivers, but you do have full control over your actions.

Some of the things you can do to enhance your safety include:

  • Cross the street at intersections and in crosswalks
  • Follow the "walk" and "don't walk" signals at intersections
  • Always assume that drivers don't see you

Even with the best intentions, you could still be part of an accident. This calls for immediate attention, including:

  • Calling 911
  • Administering first aid (if possible)
  • Receiving medical treatment at the scene and at a local hospital

As you recover, you can learn more about the accident. For example, read through the police report to get a better idea of what went wrong. For instance, you may find that the person who struck you was later arrested for driving under the influence.

After you do all these things, implement a plan for holding the negligent person responsible for your injuries and other damages.

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