Pedestrian accidents can often result in catastrophic injuries and sometimes even death. Luckily, many of the actions and situations that cause pedestrian-vehicle accidents can be prevented. As a California rental car driver, it's your responsibility to protect these vulnerable road users by driving defensively and providing them with the space and respect they need to safely make their way across streets and through intersections.
Leading Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Accident that involve pedestrians and California rental cars rarely will almost always result in injuries to the pedestrian. What's more, the motorist causes the vast majority of these types of accidents. According to research, the following are some of the most common reasons why drivers are at fault in pedestrian accidents:
- They are driving while under the influence of either drugs or alcohol.
- They are talking or texting while behind the wheel.
- They are distracted or inattentive to what is happening on the road around them.
- They fail to fully stop at a stop sign or traffic light.
- They fail to properly inspect an intersection before recklessly pulling into a crosswalk.
Avoiding Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents happen for a variety or reasons, most of which are preventable. The following are some of the ways that California rental car drivers can exercise due care and consideration, minimizing the risk of accidents with pedestrian road users:
- Don't use your cellphone while driving your California rental car. While you should avoid cellphone use at all times while driving, it's particularly important to stay off the phone if you are driving near pedestrians, crosswalks and intersections. This includes talking, texting and emailing.
- Don't speed. Speed limits are put in place to protect all road users, including pedestrians. The faster you drive, the less time you'll have to react to road conditions or an unexpected pedestrian.
- Consider the road conditions. If it's raining or snowing, California rental car drivers will need extra time to brake. If you're driving too fast on a slick surface, your California rental car could hydroplane, causing you to lose control of the vehicle.
- Always exercise caution when reversing your California rental car vehicle. Check and double-check your mirrors. Look behind you and proceed slowly.
- Always use your signals when changing lanes or executing a turn.
- Slow down when you approach a crosswalk or intersection. Always be prepared to stop if you see a pedestrian.
- Keep your windshield clean at all times. Poor visibility could make it difficult for you to spot a pedestrian.
- Make sure your mirrors are also kept clean and that they are positioned to maximize your field of view.
- Be extra caution in when driving your California rental car in parking lots, a place that's known for lots of pedestrian activity.
- Always slow down when approaching a school or playground. Children rarely think to look before running into the street.
- Never, ever drink and drive.
Tips for Pedestrians
While drivers need to pay close attention from their position behind the wheel of their California rental car, so too do pedestrians when they're out and about. Here are some tips to keep you in your toes when traveling by foot:
- Remember to look both ways when crossing the street. This is especially important at intersections.
- Pay attention to the stoplights, signage and painted markings on streets. Make sure to only enter a crosswalk when given the proper signal, and don't rush to get across if the light is about to change from walk to stop.
- Be alert when crossing the street. You can prevent an accident simply by looking for drivers that are speeding.
- Do not stumble home alone after a night of drinking. Your impaired judgment and dulled senses could cause you to wander into traffic, causing an accident. Instead, call a taxi, a friend, or a family member to give you a ride, or ask a sober friend to walk with you.
- When walking at night, be sure to wear bright or reflective clothing. Always stick to the sidewalk, and considering carrying a flashlight.
- If you must walk in the street or on a paved shoulder, be sure to walk facing oncoming traffic.
Remember, as a California rental car driver, you are required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing the streets at both marked and unmarked crosswalks. Never roll through a stop sign and never "nudge" a pedestrian in order to get them through a crosswalk faster.
When it comes to roadway safety, we can all play an important role. For more information on road safety, please feel free to California Department of Transportation website.