August is Pedestrian Safety Month in Hawaii. The safety of pedestrians in Hawaii is put to the test on a daily basis on our roadways and parking lots. A combination of drivers who are unfamiliar with our roadways and distracted drivers staring at their phone, the sunset, whales, etc. results in a treacherous proposition for walkers, runners and other pedestrians.
Here are five helpful hints that Hawaii pedestrians can do to protect ourselves:
1. Make Eye Contact with Drivers. Anytime you enter a roadway, make eye contact with any and all drivers around you. This is especially important when you are attempting to cross an intersection and a vehicle is stopped and attempting to turn right. The driver is focused on the traffic coming from the left and oftentimes fails to look right again before making the turn. If you are unable to make eye contact, simply go around the vehicle.
2. Wear Bright/Reflective Clothing. Anytime, day or night, when you are walking/running on a roadway, wear bright clothing. The brighter the better, especially at night. Bright clothing with reflective patches is also recommnded.
3. Cross the Roadway at Designated Crosswalks Only. Oftentimes, vehicles do not expect a pedestrian to cross the roadway unless there is a designated crosswalk. I think we've all seen drivers acting with anger and disdain towards pedestrians who don't cross at a designated crosswalk. If possible, always cross a roadway at designated crosswalks and utilize flags, flashing lights, etc. to alert vehicles to your crossing.
4. Walk/Run on the Left Side of the Roadway. With the numerous distractions available to Hawaii drivers, it is important for pedestrians to walk/run on the left side of the road and towards oncoming traffic. The slightest swerve or moment of inattention can cause catastrophic injuries to a pedestrian. If a pedestrian can see an oncoming vehicle, he or she can largely avoid this risk.
5. Avoid Walking/Running at Night. Most pedestrian/motor vehicle accidents occur at night. Even with bright clothing, drivers may be unable to see folks who are walking or running on the roadway. If you do walk or run at night, bring a flashing light and wear bright, reflective clothing and shoes.
About the attorney: Jeffrey Foster is an attorney with offices in Hawaii and Washington State. Jeff's practice involves the representation of pedestrians who have been injured as a result of driver negligence.