I work in L.A. Every day I cross intersections where someone fails to yield or runs through a light instead of stopping. And it’s not just cars, buses do it too. Bus drivers are equally clueless and often exercise terrible judgment when going through an intersection. It’s not always the driver, but in most cases it is.
People get hurt. I haven’t witnessed anyone get injured but there have been many close call including myself. It is not impossible to imagine all sorts of injuries taking place every day seeing how I’m only at several intersections for a minute out of the entire day.
You don’t have to be an injury statistic if only you exercise good judgment. Here is how:
If you want to stay safe, you should:
- Use sidewalks.
- Don’t jaywalk. It’s illegal and no matter how safe you may think it is – people get hurt.
- Avoid street crossings without traffic lights.
- You should know by now how to look in both directions, and then to the left again.
- Don’t rush into the crossing as soon it switches to walk. It’s common for L.A. drivers to run the light last second when they should be stopping.
- Watch out for right hand turning vehicles. Many are clueless about yielding and will often hesitate and break the law. Try to make eye contact with the driver so that they are aware you intend to cross.
- As you cross, watch the vehicles pulling up to the crosswalk, sometimes they fail to stop. I’ve seen near-accident encounters so many times when a vehicle runs a red light and nearly kills someone. If it looks like the vehicle is not slowing down, just pause to see if it’s really going to stop.
- Don’t cross last second when the light is about to change back to green for vehicles.
- Don’t be blasting your music as loud as you can so that you can’t hear the traffic around you.
- Don’t stand a quarter ways in the intersection before it turns green. I see people do this constantly as if they have to be somewhere so bad. What are you in such a hurry for? Is dying worth getting a few seconds head start in the intersection?
- Just don’t cross if the intersection is blocked. I see this too often: a bus blocks the intersection and pedestrians walk around the bus – in front or behind, exposing themselves to the rest of the traffic. Be kind. Let them correct their mistake and JUST WAIT. It’s worth it.
- Use your head! Don’t be oblivious to what’s going on around you.
Trivia: Did you know?
You can get a ticket in L.A. for stepping off the curb when the walk sign turns into a red countdown timer. It happens all the time.
About the Author: Gene writes for injury law firm Fisher & Talwar. He’s not an attorney, he just uses common sense and a bit of investigative research to find answers to your questions.