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How do I avoid pedestrian accidents behind the wheel?

Drivers have so many responsibilities these days on top of worrying about what other drivers around them will do. One of the most distracting issues for drivers in many states is watching out for pedestrians. Pedestrians can be difficult to see when driving and sometimes dart out in front of moving cars due to lack of attention. So, how do you avoid pedestrian accidents behind the wheel?

The Missouri law states the following when it comes to pedestrians: "When traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk..."

One of the best ways to avoid pedestrian accidents is to remove all distractions from the vehicle when driving. Do not talk or text on a handheld device. Do not worry about changing the radio stations or changing CDs. Refrain from doing other tasks while operating the vehicle so your full attention is on the road.

Drivers should always use their mirrors. Even though most pedestrians behind you will not be a problem, some next to your vehicle could become an issue if not paying attention. Mirrors are installed on vehicles to make operating them safer. Mirrors are especially helpful when backing out of a parking spot or driveway. Use them to spot pedestrians.

Do not operate your vehicle if the windshield is dirty. A dirty windshield can distort your view, leading you to have trouble seeing a pedestrian in front of you or off to the side.

Always use the turn signals, even if you are the only vehicle on the road. Turn signals are not just important for other vehicles, but also pedestrians in the area. They will be able to anticipate your move when they see a turn signal activated.

Be wary of your speed at all times, especially in areas of high pedestrian traffic, such as cities or tourist locations. The safer your speeds, the less likely it is that you will have an accident involving a pedestrian.

Source: Findlaw, "Pedestrian Accidents Overview," accessed Feb. 21, 2017

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