When it comes to pedestrian safety, Alabama pedestrian safety laws beg more questions than answers. Alabama pedestrian safety laws are extremely well-meaning, but largely ineffective in preventing automobile-pedestrian accidents, injuries and deaths.
Who among us gives more than a second of thought to pedestrian safety if that person is not the one doing the walking along a dangerous highway of possibly attempting to cross a busy intersection? When driving, Alabama laws leave the responsibility for pedestrian safety on the motorist because it is thought that the pedestrian is the vulnerable one but how are these laws communicated to motorists? How are the majority of drivers made aware that, for instance, he must stop and yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who are crossing in marked or unmarked crosswalks or at intersections? Are there signs at all intersections that clearly state that drivers must yield to pedestrians?
Maybe the law should be augmented to communicate more effectively with the people who have the most to lose, namely the pedestrians themselves. It’s clear that pedestrian safety is one of the farthest thing from a motor vehicle operator’s mind. A motor vehicle operator has enough to worry about without having to be constantly vigilant at every intersection that a person will wander across the street.
But there are a few things we as pedestrians need to be made aware of that can increase our chances of walking on the roads and crossing intersections more safely. A safety tip for pedestrians walking along highways and crossing intersections is to be aware that there are certain times of the day when it is more dangerous than others to by a pedestrian, and that you may have a greater chance of being struck by a motor vehicle during certain times.
For example, in the early morning hours on the weekends drivers are much more likely to have been drinking and driving and perhaps their mental and motor skills are slower at that time. Also, shift workers are on the road, returning from their late night shifts and fatigued by work and the time of the day.
A second time that it is very dangerous to be a pedestrian is during the sunset hour. During the sunset hour, driver’s visibility is extremely impaired because the sun is low in the sky producing incredible glare. At this time drivers heading west looking into the setting sun will be seen pulling down their visors in an attempt to block the sun’s blinding rays. As a pedestrian, be aware of the setting sun and the effect it can have on driver visibility.
So while there is no way to walk on the street and be 100% safe, we as pedestrians should take our own safety more seriously and into our own hands and not rely so heavily on the motor vehicle operator to look out for us. They have enough to worry about.