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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Pedestrian Vs. Car: What you need to know

Close to 5,000 people are killed annually in pedestrian vs. vehicle crashes, and the laws might not be as simple as you think.  It’s important to know and understand your rights and responsibilities as both a driver and pedestrian to avoid injury and stay safe in these encounters.


Almost fifteen percent of traffic deaths occur in a pedestrian vs. vehicle encounter (http://www.ncsl.org). Unfortunately, pedestrians, whether in the right or wrong, often have a lot more to lose in these collisions.  While pedestrians are more vulnerable, both drivers and pedestrians have responsibilities to abide by and rights to protect them.  Stewart Law Offices, LLC is well versed in cases involving personal injury of both drivers and pedestrians.  Read on for more information on pedestrians vs. vehicles and what to do if you find yourself involved in an accident as a pedestrian or a driver.

Pedestrian Rights and Responsibilities

Pedestrian laws vary by state, but one myth proves false in every states: The pedestrian always has the right of way.  Pedestrians are protected when observing the traffic laws provided to them, but also hold a responsibility that could leave them not only severely injured, but liable in a collision. Pedestrians on foot aren’t the only ones who may find themselves in a dangerous collision.  Cyclists are often traveling at higher speeds and sharing the roads with drivers can put them at a greater risk than even those on foot.

The following is a chart that summarizes both North and South Carolina’s pedestrian laws.  More information can be found at http://www.ncsl.org.

North Carolina Pedestrian Laws
•    Vehicles must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk, unmarked crosswalk, or near an intersection.
•    Vehicles emerging from any alleyway, building, private road, or driveway must yield the right of way to any pedestrian or person riding a bicycle approaching on a sidewalk extending across such alleyway, building, private road, or driveway.
•    Pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to vehicles when crossing outside of a marked crosswalk or an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.
•    Where traffic control devices are in operation, pedestrians may only cross between two adjacent intersections in a marked crosswalk.

South Carolina Pedestrian Laws
•    Vehicles must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within a crosswalk that are in the same half of the roadway as the vehicle or when a pedestrian is approaching closely enough from the opposite side of the roadway to be in danger.
•    Pedestrians may not suddenly leave the curb and enter a crosswalk into the path of a moving vehicle that is so close to constitute an immediate hazard.
•    Pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to vehicles when crossing outside of a marked crosswalk or an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.
•    Where traffic control devices are in operation, pedestrians may only cross between two adjacent intersections in a marked crosswalk and may only cross an intersection diagonally if authorized by a traffic control device.
                                                                             
http://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/pedestrian-crossing-50-state-summary.aspx

Pedestrians who are observing these laws can often avoid collision and maintain safety.  It is also important that pedestrians avoid distractions while sharing the road with drivers.  Removing head phones and keeping eyes on the road will all serve to keep pedestrians safe.  Cyclists should always air on the side of caution when sharing major roadways with vehicles.  Light colored clothing, extra bicycle lamps and reflective surfaces and ensuring distractions aren’t present can all help keep a cyclist safe.  Those on bikes should avoid using cell phones when riding.

Driver Rights and Responsibilities

As the operator of the more heavy machinery, drivers often feel a responsibility beyond what they deserve when in a collision with a pedestrian.  While the result of a pedestrian collision can be catastrophic and even fatal, the driver is not always the responsible party.  North Carolina drivers can often prevent citation and fault for an accident if they observe posted signage and remain aware of pedestrian laws and right of ways.

While a driver may not be responsible under the law if adhering to these traffic regulations, being involved in a pedestrian crash may still leave you feeling responsible.  Avoiding distractions, especially in high pedestrian areas and approaching pedestrians with caution, even when you have the right of way, may prevent a tragedy from occurring.

No one wants to find themselves in a car accident, but if you do end up in a collision, the personal injury lawyers at Stewart Law Offices, LLC are ready to help you with your needs. Serving the South Carolina cities of Rock Hill, Beaufort, Spartanburg and Columbia, as well as Charlotte, North Carolina, Stewart Law Offices can help ensure you are treated fairly and receive any compensation you deserve. Call us at 1-866-STEWART