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How pedestrians and drivers can protect themselves from accidents

In New Jersey, all motorists are required to stop for pedestrians walking inside of marked crosswalks under state statute 39:4-36. Anyone who fails to do so faces a two-point deduction on his or her license, a $200 fine, insurance premium increases and up to 15 days of community service.

Motorists aren't the only ones that are required to remain vigilant, though. Under state statute C. 39: 4-32 and 33, all pedestrians are required to both obey street signals and properly use marked crosswalks.

As for the most common reasons pedestrians are struck by cars, it's because they fail to cross in designated crosswalks or at street corners. In other cases, they fail to yield to a vehicle's right of way, take time to look both ways before crossing or notice turning cars. Individuals being struck because they fail to obey 'walk' and 'don't walk' traffic signals is a common occurrence as well.

Aside from doing the complete opposite of the aforementioned, pedestrians can also be proactive in protecting themselves from injury by making sure to always walk facing traffic. Pedestrians should never assume that a motorist is going to stop. Wearing reflective clothes can make you more easily seen if you're walking at night.

Just as you wouldn't want to drive intoxicated, you also should abstain from going out walking if you're under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you're impaired, there's a much higher chance that you'll make a poor decision that will result in you being struck.

As a motorist, while you can reduce your risk of striking of pedestrian by being watchful for pedestrians walking in crosswalks, it's important to be on the lookout for those walking as you go to make turns on red as well. Drivers should look to drive at the posted speed limit to minimize the time it takes them to brake to avoid striking someone.

Drivers can greatly improve their chances of seeing a pedestrian by keeping their front windshield clean. They also can help both themselves and others by doing their best to avoid parking in or otherwise blocking crosswalks. Doing so makes it much easier for all motorists to see pedestrians before they enter the roadway.

If you've been involved in an auto-pedestrian accident, you may find that consulting with an East Orange, New Jersey, personal injury attorney is helpful in learning about your rights in your legal matter.

Source: The State of New Jersey, Office of the Attorney General, "Pedestrian Safety," accessed June 09, 2017

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