Pedestrian Safety Tips

Distracted drivers have made walking across the street a surprisingly dangerous activity.

Auto-pedestrian accidents have increased across the country and are climbing faster than motorist fatalities, reaching nearly 6,000 deaths last year.

The importance of pedestrian safety is evidenced by the increased death rates of pedestrians on American roads. The number of pedestrians killed on U.S. roadways last year rose 11 percent compared to 2015, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Clearly, pedestrians and drivers need to take care to prevent these rates from rising any further.

Stay safe on the roads by following some basic tips!

Be Aware

If you’re walking on the street, the main thing to remember is that you need to be aware of your surroundings at all time.

Distracted walking can put your life in danger, so don’t read or look at your phone while walking. Not only can this make you run into other pedestrians, it reduces your reaction time if a vehicle approaches at an unsafe speed. If you’re looking at your phone or reading while walking, you’re not aware of what’s going on around you and you’re more likely to break a law and end up in the path of an oncoming vehicle.

Pay attention to where you’re crossing. It’s very tempting to dash across a road and skip the wait at a crosswalk, but this is a risky tactic, and the payoff isn’t worth the risk. Putting yourself in a spot where a car isn’t expecting to see a pedestrian is the worst thing you can do, and the vast majority of car drivers who hit pedestrians report that they never even saw the pedestrian. You don’t want to be one of these fatalities, so wait at a crosswalk!

Look Both Ways

This tip is an old classic, but it’s still relevant: look both ways! Even on a one-way street, be sure both sides are clear and that you have enough time to cross the street. Even in a crosswalk, be aware of cars heading toward you so you can react in time. 

Finally, if there isn’t a sidewalk and you have to walk on a road, walk facing traffic so you can see the oncoming traffic and take care to avoid cars.

Never Drive Distracted

If you’re driving your car around pedestrians, the same basic principles apply, but in reverse.

Never drive distracted, which means no phone calls, eating, or using apps while driving. If you’re behind the wheel, then driving is your only job. Be on high alert when you’re driving in an area with lots of foot traffic. There’s more at stake and pedestrians can be unpredictable.

Be Alert

Be alert around crosswalks. Crosswalks are like a flashing light to alert you to potential pedestrians, so slow down and be aware of the foot traffic. Even at crosswalks, people sometimes walk illegally. Scan sidewalks in areas where there’s lots of foot traffic to try and anticipate people about to cross, and slow way down in residential areas where there might be kids and joggers in the street.

Overall, be present, cautious, and focused when you’re a pedestrian or a driver, and the rate of pedestrian traffic accidents will decrease. It starts with you!

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