Everyone has different preferences when it comes to transportation, but there’s one that most share: At one point or another , we are all pedestrians. Unfortunately, pedestrians were one of the few groups of road users to experience an increase in fatalities in the United States in 2011, totaling 4,432 deaths.
“On average, a pedestrian was injured every eight minutes, and killed every two hours in traffic crashes.” (Traffic Safety Facts: Pedestrians, August, 2013)
Below are tips to help combat pedestrian accidents for both drivers and pedestrians. Working together will lower accidents.
Be predictable. Follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
• Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available.
• If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
• Keep alert at all times; don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road. (texting while walking?)
• Walk across streets at marked crosswalks or intersections whenever possible. This is where drivers expect pedestrians. Look for cars in all directions – including those turning left or right.
• If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Wait for a gap in traffic that allows you enough time to cross safely, and continue to watch for traffic as you cross.
• Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach you to make sure you are seen.
• Be visible at all times. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.
• Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways, or backing up in parking lots.
• Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking; they impair your abilities and judgment too.
Look out for pedestrians everywhere, at all times. Safety is a shared responsibility.
• Use extra caution when driving in hard-to-see conditions, such as nighttime or in bad weather.
• Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk.
• Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and stop well back from the crosswalk to give other vehicles an opportunity to see the crossing pedestrians so they can stop too.
• Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. There may be people crossing that you can’t see. (It is also against the law in Arizona)
• Never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. (Yep. That is against the law too)
• Follow the speed limit, especially around people on the street.
• Follow slower speed limits in school zones and in neighborhoods where there are children present.
• Be extra cautious when backing up – pedestrians can move into your path.
Generally, these accidents occur when at least one person is not paying attention. If you are a pedestrian, it is just crucial that you exercise proper precaution.
Remember, if a serious accident occurs, no one wins. But if you are the pedestrian in a car-pedestrian accident, you definitely lose.