Drive Safely Near Pedestrians This Holiday Season

Make a Holiday Safety Plan

Next time you stop at an intersection, check. Check in front of your vehicle, side to side, then behind. Expect to see pedestrians.

Unless it’s winter and you are driving at night in Massachusetts. Then it becomes more difficult to see, raising the risk for pedestrian injuries at night. You may not see every pedestrian unless you really look.

We share these reminders for traveling safely near pedestrians this holiday season in Boston and across Massachusetts:

Never Drink and Drive. You reduce your ability to respond to pedestrians when you drink. If you drink, be responsible and plan a ride home before you head out to holiday gatherings.

Stop and Yield for Pedestrians. Drivers have a duty to yield or stop for pedestrians crossing the roadway within a crosswalk, under Massachusetts law. Drivers have an absolute duty to stop for pedestrians when there is an active “Walk” signal.

Slow Down. Slow and steady is safest when pedestrians may be out. Your speed makes all the difference in whether you have time to stop. While speed limits may be posted, drivers have a duty to travel even slower “when a special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians and other traffic,” per M.G.L. c. 90, § 17.

Use Caution in Parking Areas. Check in all directions before you leave parking lots or holiday parties. You never know when you may see a pedestrian. Pedestrians may stop to talk in parking lots or check their cell phones.

Stay Focused. Turn your cell phone off when you drive to and from holiday gatherings. Give the road your full attention and check the side of the road for pedestrian activity.

Check the Weather. Here in Massachusetts, December can bring a wide range of forecasts: a balmy day, cold rain or a snowstorm. Expect pedestrians to be out, even in inclement weather and at night. Expect pedestrians to be out shoveling; avoid traveling near driveways.

Talk to Your Teen Driver. Drive your teen to holiday gatherings or school events at night so they can get more practice driving at night and near pedestrians.

Watch for Work Crews. When you see a utility truck, police car or emergency vehicle, slow down and expect pedestrians. If you are on the highway, move over to the next lane. On local roads, slow down or if you decide to stop, pull over into a safe and well-lit parking area. You can contribute to a larger accident by blocking traffic.

Helping a Pedestrian Get Medical Care After a Drunk Driving Crash

As personal injury lawyers, we have represented the victims of many drunk driving accidents here in Massachusetts.

We hope you use good judgment and avoid drinking and driving this holiday season. But if you are involved in a drunk driving crash, remember what matters most: staying on the scene and helping the pedestrian get medical care.

Pedestrians are highly vulnerable to fatal injuries in car accidents and need immediate medical care. As a driver, you have a legal responsibility to stay on the scene of an accident involving personal injury under Massachusetts law.

Learn More About Breakstone, White & Gluck

Breakstone, White & Gluck wishes you a safe and happy holiday season. To learn more about our firm, please visit our website.