Thursday, July 21, 2005

Some things you just shouldn't do.

People shouldn't cross an arterial road at night against the light. That's just fucking insane. That's how I just almost fucking hit someone coming home tonight.

I was driving down a 5-lane road near my house with a speed limit of 35 mph, probably going about 40. Everyone does. I approached a light where there is a left turn signal. The oncoming traffic was stopped so someone could turn left from my side of the road and I had a green, so I kept driving. Suddenly, she appeared from among the stopped headlights, crossing against the light, and I screeched to a halt, certainly inches from her. She was running away with a terrified expression, but I didn't hit her. So I kept going, which was maybe not the right thing to do. Are you supposed to stop if you didn't actually hit? But jesus christ, she was running away.

If you're going to jaywalk, do it responsibly. Especially at night. Jesus fucking christ.

My heart was pounding and my body was shivering for the rest of the drive home. My god, what if I did hit her? What would have happened? Who is at fault?

As a driver, I know I have a responsibility to look out for pedestrians, which I do. I stop to let pedestrians cross when I'm waiting to turn right; I look both ways at the mid-block crosswalks in my neighborhood. I spent a long time as a pedestrian myself; I know what assholes drivers can be. Pedestrians should be given the right of way in all cases, but what if they're breaking the law and you don't see them?

What if my eyes failed me and I ran a red light without even knowing it?

What if someone witnessed it, thought I hit her, and called the police on my ass for a hit and run?


Josie said...

Just in answer to your question: with a pedestrian/car accident the car is always at fault. (there is a default law that basically says that a pedestrian always has the right of way, even when they don't appear to, like crossing against the light at night).

Anonymous said...

there is such a default law *in washington.* in california, there is actually a different law: see here.

to quote: "The law states that drivers must take care for the safety of any pedestrian— but if the driver can’t stop in time to avoid hitting you, the law won’t help you."