stop sign
Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Stupid Tip of the Day: Pay Attention to Crosswalks While Driving. I Was Almost Hit by a Car.

Regardless of the variations of traffic laws, pedestrians have the right of way in many parts of the world — even if the pedestrian is not obeying local traffic laws in some locations — and especially when a crosswalk is physically present.

Stupid Tip of the Day: Pay Attention to Crosswalks While Driving. I Was Almost Hit by a Car.

I was walking westbound on a sidewalk along a major highway in a commercial area which includes retail stores, restaurants, banks, and other businesses which cater directly to the public. The sidewalk is located along the eastbound travel lanes of the highway. The traffic light was green as I stepped into a crosswalk of one of the access points to one of the shopping centers.

A car was stopped in the right turn lane, as its motorist was looking to her extreme left and facing west, waiting for a break in the flow of vehicular traffic which was heading eastbound. I crossed in front of the car in the crosswalk. As I almost cleared the front of her car, she started to accelerate while still looking west, not knowing that I was in the crosswalk. The traffic light was red for her; but turning right while the traffic light is still red is legal.

The car screeched to a halt when she finally saw me, literally inches from hitting me and possibly running over me. The traffic light was still red for her and green for me. The look of shock on her face indicated that she had no idea that I was there, legally crossing in front of her…

…but what stunned me was her reaction: she started to yell at me through the closed window on her side of the car, with a look on her face as though the incident was my fault. I signaled with my hands that I was in a crosswalk; that the traffic light was still red for her; and that I had the right of way.

Had she taken a second or two to simply look to the right and ensure that all was clear for her to turn right while the traffic light was still red, no incident would have occurred in the first place, as it was easily preventable.

Thankfully, her vehicle never touched me, as she barely stopped in the nick of time. Had something happened, she would have clearly been in the wrong. Hopefully, she learned a lesson for being more careful when driving, as she — and especially a hapless pedestrian — may not be so lucky next time.

Summary

As a motorist — whether you are driving your own vehicle or renting a car; and regardless of where you are located around the world — you are responsible for paying attention to your surroundings to ensure that accidents and unfortunate incidents are prevented. When a crosswalk is present, always assume that a pedestrian is nearby to use it; and exercise some extra caution as a result. Take that extra second or two to look both ways twice — even if the traffic on the road is flowing in only one direction — to ensure that no pedestrians are present prior to accelerating your vehicle.

Pedestrians also need to observe surroundings and anticipate what motorists might do — not so much as to adhere to traffic laws; but simply to prevent from getting hurt or killed, as a pedestrian is unlikely to emerge victorious from a physical confrontation with a moving vehicle.

Important to note is that cameras mounted on the dashboards and rear view mirrors of vehicles are becoming more and more prevalent; and an incident is increasingly likely to be recorded by someone. This can be potentially helpful to you if you are not at fault for an incident or accident — and equally potentially harmful to you if you are at fault.

Prevention of an accident or incident is the best way to avoid having to deal with resolving major problems, which could potentially consume a significant amount of your time, effort, and money.

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

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