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Five Steps to Follow When Walking In Virginia to Avoid An Accident

As an establishment within the personal injury field for over 30 years, Portner & Shure attorneys have successfully represented numerous clients who have been involved in pedestrian accidents. While not all accidents can be avoided, we provide all of our clients with advice on how to reduce the chances of being hit by a car. Here are five tips to follow when walking in Virginia:

  1. Stop, look, and listen. Virginia law is clear in that drivers must stop for pedestrians under any circumstance. This means pedestrians always have the right-of-way. Whether the pedestrian is correctly crossing at the crosswalk with the light or trying to jaywalk in the middle of traffic, the driver must always stop. However, while this is the case, it is very important for all pedestrians to constantly look at their surroundings as drivers do not always stop when they should. It is best to pause for a moment even when the crosswalk sign or green light changes in case a vehicle runs a red light or stop sign. Pedestrians should then look left, look right, and listen for any oncoming cars before crossing.
  2. Do not jaywalk. Jaywalking means crossing a street at any point other than a crosswalk. It is against Virginia law to jaywalk. If there is no crosswalk, pedestrians should cross from corner to corner, where crosswalk lines would normally be painted.
  3. Walk on the sidewalk. Code of Virginia§ 46.2-928 states that pedestrians should walk on the sidewalk whenever possible. If a sidewalk is not present and it is necessary to walk in the roadway, pedestrians should always face oncoming traffic and walk as far to the left or edge of the roadway as possible. However, if a shoulder lane is present on both sides of the highway, pedestrians may walk in either shoulder lane.
  4. Take out the headphones. Injuries to headphone-wearing pedestrians struck by cars and trains have more than tripled since 2004. Walking with headphones is similar to texting and driving because you are being distracted when you need to be concentrating the most. When pedestrians use headphones, they are blocking out the sounds of oncoming cars or trains, sounding horns, or even a simple "Watch out!" which increases the risk of injury.
  5. Use common sense. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles provides the following tips:
  • When walking, wear light colors so motorists can see you.
  • When walking at night, reflective clothing or flashlights make you more visible to motorists.
  • Dusk and dawn are the most dangerous times of the day for pedestrians. If walking or jogging, make sure you walk against the traffic and remember reflective clothing.
  • Drinking and walking can be as dangerous as drinking and driving, as a person who has been drinking may not be aware of the surroundings and may walk in front of traffic.
  • If you, a family member, or someone you know was involved in a pedestrian accident or if you would like more information on car accidents, please contact Portner & Shure.