At some point in time, we are all a pedestrian. Whether you walk to work, jog for exercise or simply make your way around town while enjoying an evening out, staying safe should be a top priority.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, in 2013 a pedestrian was killed every 2 hours. In total, there were 4,735 reported pedestrian deaths in 2013 and an estimated 66,000 pedestrians injured in traffic crashes across the country. Most pedestrian deaths on weekdays occur between 4 p.m. and midnight, while most weekend pedestrian deaths occur between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m.
How can you do your best to stay safe as a pedestrian? The following are a few tips and strategies:
Obey all laws and traffic signals;
Do not assume a driver will stop for you;
Always make eye contact with drivers when possible;
Utilize marked crosswalks;
Avoid using cell phones or listening to music on head phones while walking or exercising;
Walk facing traffic if there is no sidewalk; and
Wear visible clothing, including reflective material at night.
As drivers, always keep a lookout for pedestrians, particularly in high traffic areas and areas where children are likely to be. Exercise caution when turning, at crosswalks and when backing up in parking lots and other areas. When approaching a marked crosswalk, always be aware of other cars and recognize that they may be blocking your view. When in doubt, stop or slow down to make sure the way is clear.
Unfortunately, often the most fatal mistake one can make is assuming the behavior of others will conform to the rules and laws. Drivers will often not stop at crosswalks; children may inadvertently come into the path of a moving vehicle. Always assume a driver will not stop, and that a pedestrian is going to move into the path or your vehicle. Doing so may save your life, or the life of another.
In addition to the steps outlined above, as members of the community we should all take appropriate steps to identify potential trouble spots for pedestrians, and urge those in position to do so to try and remedy the problem. Be it a common crossing point with no marked crosswalk, or a crossing location that would benefit from a traffic signal, it is on us all to take action to protect one another.
Pedestrian deaths and injuries can be reduced or eliminated through education and when drivers and pedestrians follow the rules of the road.
Last updated 7/5/2015
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