Bustling cities like Dallas are especially dangerous places for pedestrians. Downtown areas have many places where pedestrians and motor vehicles intersect. In these areas, human errors such as distraction and carelessness can lead to deadly pedestrian accidents. As a driver or pedestrian in Dallas, Texas, do certain things to reduce your risk of getting into an accident.
In 2018, the Texas Department of Transportation reported 626 pedestrian fatalities – a 1.79 percent increase from 2017. Many of these fatal collisions took place in metropolitan Dallas, Austin and Fort Worth. Although drivers and pedestrians both share a responsibility to obey the law and prevent collisions, drivers must be especially careful as the party that can cause the most damage.
Reducing your speed can be enough to avoid a pedestrian accident. Traveling at a safe speed allows you to hit the brakes in unexpected roadway situations, such as a child running out front of your car. Always drive at or below the posted speed limit in Dallas. If you are traveling through a residential area or a school zone – or if the weather is dangerous – reduce your speed even more.
Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous driver behaviors. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving took 3,142 lives in the U.S. in 2019 alone. Put your phone away, keep your eyes on the road and dedicate 100 percent of your attention to the driving task. This may allow you to react to a pedestrian in time to prevent a crash.
Yield the Right-of-Way
Although pedestrians do not automatically have the right-of-way in Dallas, yield when it is necessary. Always yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, for instance, and to pedestrians who are crossing the road when you are making a left- or right-hand turn. Even if a pedestrian does not have the right-of-way, you have a responsibility to pay attention, hit the brakes and avoid a collision when possible.
As someone who likes to walk or jog around Dallas, it is imperative to be proactive about pedestrian safety. You cannot trust drivers to always obey the law or yield the right-of-way. Take your safety as a pedestrian into your own hands to decrease your risk of getting injured in an accident.
Avoid Danger Zones
Certain parts of Dallas are more dangerous for pedestrians than others. These areas often involve intersections or areas with a lot of pedestrian traffic, such as retail centers. Do your best to avoid danger zones while walking in Dallas, such as:
- The West End
- West Northwest Highway near Community Drive
- Ledbetter Drive at Bonnie View Road
- Malcolm X Boulevard at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
- Lovers Lane at Greenville Avenue
Crash statistics have shown that these areas are more prone to pedestrian accidents and deaths than other places in Dallas. Take other routes, when possible, to increase your safety.
Obey Traffic Laws
Do not assume you always have the right-of-way as a pedestrian in Texas. You have the same responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers to obey traffic laws and roadway rules. Do not jaywalk, for example, or step off the curb in front of an oncoming vehicle. Wait your turn to cross and use crosswalks.
Practice Defensive Walking
Defensive walking is a technique where you assume drivers will break the law or won’t see you, rather than assuming the opposite. Defensive walking required staying vigilant and aware of your surroundings. Do not walk while using your cell phone or otherwise distracted. Pay attention to what is happening around you, make eye contact with drivers before crossing the road and verify that it is safe to cross before stepping into the road – even if you have the right-of-way.
If you get injured in a pedestrian accident in Dallas, contact an attorney right away for a free consultation about your legal rights.