In recent years, many reports have been made in an around Maricopa County about physically disabled individuals who have been hurt, or even killed, in traffic accidents. Often, these victims are traveling on sidewalks, crossing in crosswalks, or moving through a parking lot as they attempt to move about their days, operating in a manner which should leave them safe. Some instances have involved drivers who were distracted or who failed to notice victims before a crash took place; others involved victims who crossed against traffic or who made a mistake in judgment.
This week, another tragic incident came to light involving a woman in a wheelchair who was hit and killed by driver in Glendale. This most recent incident has brought the safety of disabled adults to the forefront of public discussions and has led some to wonder whether more can be done to ensure our roads remain accessible to all.
The most critical piece of understanding for this topic is the fact that every single person plays a role in our collective safety on the roads, and therefore, even if you are able-bodied, you have an impact on the safety of those who may suffer from a physical disability. Never forget this fact as you drive, ride a bicycle, or walk around Phoenix and be aware that even a moment’s lapse in judgement on your part may be to blame for a car accident.
It is also very important to realize that there are many kinds of disabilities and that people in the Valley may be affected in a variety of ways. Some ailments may be noticeable by passersby, especially if an individual uses a mobility aid like a wheelchair, crutches, or a walker. Others may not be detectable at all if an impairment is not visibly noticeable. For example, many people are deaf and unable to hear approaching cars, trucks, and vans but others in the area do not realize that these people cannot hear.
Therefore, a wide range of driving and walking habits should be considered to meet a wide range of needs in the area.
When you drive, always obey traffic signals and yield to pedestrian traffic. If you happen to notice pedestrians near an intersection, be prepared for them to cross the street regardless of whether they have the right-of-way or not. Make sure you give those using a wheelchair or a walker extra time to make a safe crossing and never attempt to rush these people as doing so will make an accident more likely to occur. If someone crosses in front of you, attempt to stop, swerve, or otherwise avoid the individual whenever possible. Consider using your horn to warn a pedestrian of your oncoming status if you fear you cannot stop in time, and if it is dark outside, flash your lights as well in case the individual does not have normal hearing capabilities.
If you are walking, be extremely cautious and only cross in a marked pedestrian crosswalk and when you have the right-of-way. Expect that some drivers will be speeding and may ignore your right to cross so be prepared to take evasive action if necessary as it is always best to avoid a pedestrian accident whenever possible. Try to walk in pedestrian-friendly areas whenever possible, including those that have sidewalks, and avoid walking in areas with high speed limits or that do not have pedestrian access.
If you were involved in a pedestrian collision in Phoenix, Mesa, Chandler, Scottsdale, Glendale, or Tempe, you may be entitled to relief for your damages. Call the personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. today for a no-cost, no-obligation case consultation about your accident and your legal options if you need help. We have a lawyer available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call toll free at (855) PHX-LAWYER or locally at (602) 819-5191 and if we represent you, we will never charge you a fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf.
Prior Blog Entry:
Pedestrian Traffic Heavy due to Viva PHX, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published March 14, 2016.