With the weather warming up and schools letting out, there are more and more people out and about, and that means more pedestrians as well as more cars on the road during the summer months. On average, a pedestrian is killed in a traffic crash every 120 minutes and injured in a traffic crash every 8 minutes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Pedestrian safety is an issue that affects the entire community; young and old, drivers and walkers, during the day and at night. The roadways should be a safe place for everyone regardless of their transportation mode. The most important safety tip to reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities is simply to pay attention.
Both drivers and pedestrians have certain safety responsibilities that depend on both circumstances and common sense.
Tips for Drivers:
You can encounter pedestrians anytime and anywhere – even in places where they are not supposed to be found. Pedestrians can be very hard to see, especially in bad weather or at night, so keep a lookout and slow down if you can’t see clearly.
Be alert and watch for pedestrians at all times.
– Scan the road and the sides of the road ahead for potential pedestrians.
– Before making a turn, look in all directions for pedestrians crossing.
– Look carefully behind your vehicle for approaching pedestrians before backing-up, especially small children.
– For maximum visibility, keep your windshield clean and headlights on.
Yield to pedestrians at crossings.
Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, whether marked or unmarked and do not block or park in crosswalks.
Drive the speed limit and avoid aggressive maneuvers. Never pass a vehicle that is stopped for pedestrians and obey speed limits. Use extra caution when driving around schools and in neighborhoods where children are active. Always be prepared to stop for pedestrians and come to a complete stop at STOP signs.
Tips for Pedestrians:
Stay off freeways and restricted zones and use sidewalks where provided. Where no sidewalks are provided, it is usually safer to walk facing road traffic. Use extra caution when crossing multiple-lane, higher speed streets.
Don’t “Drink and Walk.”
As an inebriated pedestrian, your chances of suffering an accident increase significantly. If you’ve been drinking, take a cab or a bus, or let someone sober drive you home.
Take extra care at night and at dusk.
Walking at night increases your chances of death or injury because drivers cannot avoid what they can’t see. When walking at night, wear light colors and retro-reflective material or shoes. It also might be wise to carry a flashlight in very dark areas.
Provide proper supervision and training for children.
Young children often lack the judgment and experience to make good choices when dealing with traffic. Their smaller stature also makes them harder for motorists to see. Adults need to teach children to behave safely when they are around automobile traffic.
For more tips and information on pedestrians and driving, check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s page.