Spartanburg, South Carolina news station WSPA recently reported on a fatal accident. South Carolina Troopers told the news station that a woman was walking in the road when she was struck by an SUV. Unfortunately the pedestrian did not survive the accident.
While pedestrians and cars are often able to safely share the road, sometimes accidents happen. Whether you are traveling on foot or four wheels there are certain things you can do to share the road safely and reduce the risk of accidents or tragedies.
South Carolina Law for Drivers
You may have heard that pedestrians have “the right of way” in South Carolina. What does right of way mean in this context? It means that drivers have the responsibility of remaining alert to pedestrians and driving slow enough that they can stop if a pedestrian appears suddenly. The South Carolina Driver’s Manual explains it as: “It is your responsibility as a driver to be on the lookout and to take every precaution possible to not injure a person on foot. If you see a vehicle, pedestrian or children near the road, you should slow down and be prepared to stop.” Pedestrians include people on foot, wheelchair users, skateboards, and persons with strollers. However, pedestrians also have a duty to act reasonably and because pedestrians are almost always the ones more injured in an accident with a vehicle, it is in everyone’s best interest to be as careful as possible.
Drivers are required by South Carolina code to exercise due care when driving a motor vehicle:
“Notwithstanding other provisions of any local ordinance, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or any person propelling a human-powered vehicle and shall give an audible signal when necessary and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused, incapacitated or intoxicated person.” (Section 56-5-3230).
The law also requires drivers to maintain a safe speed to avoid colliding with a pedestrian or other hazard.
Safety Tips for Drivers
The law makes clear that drivers should do everything they can to avoid hitting pedestrians. Below are some safety tips for drivers to help prevent these collisions:
- Stay alert for pedestrians and slow down in areas where there are a lot of pedestrians.
- Be especially careful at night and areas where pedestrians are forced to walk on the side of the street.
- Use your horn or other auditory signals if you think that a pedestrian is at risk of being hit.
- If you are in an area with crosswalks, remember that pedestrians have the right of way and remain alert to the possibility of pedestrians stepping off of the curb.
- Give pedestrians the right of way whether they have it or not.
- South Carolina law has special protections for blind pedestrians. Drivers are required to yield to any pedestrian who has a visible cane or guide dog.
South Carolina Law for Pedestrians
South Carolina does not only have laws that driver’s must follow, but also has laws governing the behavior of pedestrians. A brief overview of some of the highlights of the laws is as follows:
- Pedestrians are responsible for following all traffic signals and other traffic safety devices.
- Municipalities are allowed to prohibit pedestrians from dangerous areas in their jurisdictions and can mandate that pedestrians only cross at marked crosswalks.
- Vehicles need to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
- Pedestrians are prohibited from running in front of a car of suddenly leaving the curb and becoming in danger of being hit by a car.
- If a car is stopped for someone in a crosswalk, the cars behind it should not attempt to pass it by driving around the stopped car.
- Pedestrians should use the right half of the crosswalk whenever possible.
- If a pedestrian is crossing somewhere other than a marked crosswalk, the pedestrian needs to yield to any vehicles that are on the roadway.
- If there are nearby traffic signals and crosswalks then pedestrians should cross only at those crosswalks.
- Pedestrians should not cross diagonally unless the traffic control devices specifically allow it.
- Along highways, if there is a sidewalk then pedestrians should use it. If there are no sidewalks then pedestrians should walk as far to the side of the road as possible. If it is a two-way roadway then pedestrians should walk on the left side of the road.
- Walking on the freeway is illegal and is considered a misdemeanor and a violator can be fined up to $100 and jailed for up to 30 days.
One of the major causes of pedestrian accidents is walking while under the influence drugs or alcohol. The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles cites the “drinking public” as one of the main categories of pedestrian fatalities. According to the SC DMV, “A drinking pedestrian may have his senses and his judgment impaired.” The law requires that pedestrians who are drunk or high remain on the sidewalk. If you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol you should avoid walking anywhere dangerous and instead try to find a ride from a sober driver.
Other Pedestrian Safety Tips
Besides following the law and not being out while intoxicated, there are other things that pedestrians can do to stay safe.
- Avoid walking at night, and if you do wear brightly colored clothing, lights, or reflectors so drivers can see you.
- Refrain from crossing where cars are parked on the side of the road since it may be hard for a driver to see you coming.
- Stay alert. Don’t use headphones or text on your phone. You should be aware of all your surroundings including oncoming cars.
- Use crosswalks and sidewalks whenever possible.
Spartanburg Car Accident Attorney
Whether you are a pedestrian who was injured by a vehicle, or a vehicle who accidentally collided with a pedestrian, you need an experienced car accident attorney on your side. As soon as possible after an accident call the skilled Spartanburg, South Carolina car accident attorneys at Double Aught Injury Lawyers to help you with your car accident claim or defense.