Stay Safe With These Pedestrian Safety Tips
No matter how much people love their cars, everybody is a pedestrian from time to time. Children walk to and from school, dog owners take their dogs for walks, some people walk for exercise, and other people might walk places out of convenience or necessity. Unfortunately, since pedestrians don’t have the protection of being in an enclosed vehicle, they are more likely to be killed if they are in an accident with a car. A pedestrian dies every 2 hours as the result of a car accident and in 2012, 76,000 pedestrians were injured in car accidents. So, what can you do to keep yourself injury-free on your journeys around town?
Make Yourself Visible
Since people are so much smaller than cars, drivers might have a harder time spotting a person than they would another vehicle, especially at night or at dusk. 26% of of pedestrian fatalities in 2013 happened between 6:00-8:59 PM and 23% happened between 9:00-11:59 PM. If you’re walking at a time when visibility is lower, wear brightly colored clothing and/or reflective tape or carry a flashlight with you to make sure you stand out to drivers a little bit more.
A common mistake many pedestrians make is they believe that just because they can see a car or driver, the driver can also see them. This isn’t always true, so it’s best to make direct eye contact with the driver before entering the roadway.
One of the most effective ways pedestrians can keep themselves safe while out and about is to always be aware of everything that is going on around them. There is much to be said for not texting or using a cell phone while driving because it takes your attention away from the road. This is also true for walking. Just because people don’t travel as fast on foot as they do in a motor vehicle doesn’t mean it’s necessarily safe to distract yourself. Reading or sending a text message, trying to find a song to listen to, looking up a contact to make a phone call, all take a person’s attention away from what’s going on around them, which can be dangerous for pedestrians. If a person is playing with their phone, they might not see an uneven piece of sidewalk, another person in their path, or an oncoming vehicle.
Cross at Corners/Marked Crosswalks
70% of pedestrian fatalities are the result of a person trying to cross in the middle of a block. If a person is trying to cross the street from in between parked cars, the parked cars might block the pedestrian from the view of an oncoming driver. Drivers also don’t tend to expect
Alcohol is a huge factor in car/pedestrian accidents. 48% of fatal pedestrian accidents involve alcohol and in 34% of those cases, the pedestrian was the one who was legally drunk. Since alcohol impairs judgement, it makes it more likely for a pedestrian to engage in risky behavior like crossing a street outside of a crosswalk or enter a roadway unexpectedly.
What To Do If There’s No Sidewalk
Sidewalks are naturally going to be the safest places to walk, but sometimes there isn’t a sidewalk available. In this case, it’s best to walk along the shoulder of the road, facing traffic.