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Pedestrian signals and safety tips

Almost everyone is a pedestrian at some point. This means that almost everyone is at risk when they are walking somewhere while in the vicinity of motor vehicles.

Specific traffic signals have been designed to make pedestrians safer when crossing an intersection. The three main types of signals are:

  • Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI) signals let pedestrians begin crossing an intersection before motorists are allowed to proceed. This includes motorists who are turning. The signal allows those motorists to see the pedestrian in a crosswalk before turning through it.
  • Exclusive Pedestrian Signal (EPS) gives pedestrians enough time to cross an intersection completely before allowing motorists to proceed. Pedestrians should move quickly through the intersection, though, to ensure they reach the other side safely.
  • Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS) use visual and audible signals for hearing- and sight-impaired pedestrians. Countdown timers are also common, and usually have both visual and audible countdowns.

These signals are terrific for helping prevent or reduce pedestrian accidents. However, not every intersection has such a signal. Here are some safety tips for pedestrians to remember:

  • Wear light and reflective clothing when walking at night or when the weather affects visibility.
  • Carry a flashlight at night and avoid crossing dimly-lit streets.
  • If a sidewalk is not available, walk facing traffic.
  • Avoid walking when impaired by alcohol or drugs, as this can affect your perception of distances and other important factors.
  • Don't just assume that a driver saw you. Make eye contact, raise your hand or attempt another sign to the driver so that he or she will see you clearly.
  • If a driver is on a cellphone, use extreme caution. A distracted driver can easily miss a pedestrian.

These are just a few of the pedestrian signals and safety tips that can help keep you from being involved in a car vs. pedestrian accident. If you are injured or you have lost a loved one in such a crash, an experienced attorney can help you determine your legal options.

Source: New York State, "Pedestrian Safety," accessed Oct. 20, 2017

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