Cranwell & Moore P.L.C., Attorneys at Law

Will you be taking an evening stroll to see Christmas lights?

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Even if you do not personally celebrate Christmas, you might still enjoy seeing all the beautiful light displays that often adorn Virginia neighborhoods this time of year. Some communities actually have friendly competitions, with pedestrians and other travelers voting on which displays they like best. If you plan on walking around town to look at Christmas lights, there are several safety tips to keep in mind, especially if you will have children with you.

The holidays can be a festive, joyful time of year, but when it comes to traveling on foot, it can also be a highly dangerous time. There are typically more vehicles on the road as people rush around to do their holiday shopping. Sadly, there are also usually more drunk and distracted drivers on Virginia roadways during the holidays as well.

How can you stay safe?

Even if you are a person who regularly walks for exercise, it is always a good idea to review safety tips to help lower your risk for injury when you travel on foot. The following list includes ideas that may be helpful to you and your family:

  • Visibility is key to safety. Wear brightly colored clothing or reflective tape to help make drivers more easily aware of your presence.
  • Just because a traffic light at a crosswalk is giving you the right of way as a pedestrian, it's never a good idea to enter the roadway until you make sure all nearby vehicles are coming to full stops.
  • If you have to walk on a road instead of a sidewalk, always do so facing traffic.
  • Christmas lights are more spectacular at night, so if you're taking a stroll after dark, carry a flashlight with you.
  • It's a good idea to try to make eye contact with an approaching motorist before you try to cross the street in front of his or her vehicle.
  • Remember that parked cars, trees, lamp posts and other stationery objects can obstruct your visibility or can make you unseen by approaching motorists.

There is less chance of you or your child getting hit by a car if you keep these and other safety tips in mind any time you travel as pedestrians. No matter how cautious and alert you are, however, if a driver is distracted, intoxicated or reckless, your peaceful evening stroll might suddenly become an emergency situation.

If that happens

If you suffer minor injuries as a pedestrian, it can definitely put a damper on your holidays. The fact is, however, that pedestrian accidents often result in serious, even fatal, injuries. Losing a child who has fallen victim to a distracted or drunk driver is not only immediately devastating, it can make every future holiday a difficult time of year as well.

Many Virginia parents have sought justice on the behalves of their children who suffered fatal injuries in pedestrian accidents. State law allows grieving parents or guardians to seek financial accountability against those deemed responsible for their loved ones' deaths.

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