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Pedestrian safety is not something most people spend time thinking about, but everyone is a pedestrian at some point. Whenever you are near moving vehicles, you are at risk. Follow these tips to avoid any accidents or fatalities.
Pedestrian Safety Statistics
According to the NHTSA, one pedestrian was killed every 88 minutes in 2017. The following year the number of pedestrian fatalities (6283) increased by 3%. Sixteen percent of all traffic fatalities are pedestrians. These accidents do not just befall pedestrians in cities; they happen just as often in the country’s rural and suburban areas. It is critical to know how to stay safe when walking or biking near traffic.
Tips to Stay Safe When You Are a Pedestrian
Many of the tips to stay safe are obvious but unobserved by many walkers and cyclists. The list includes:
- Always use sidewalks when available.
- Wear bright, easy-to-see clothes and reflectors.
- Observe all traffic light signals and use crosswalks.
- Do NOT assume drivers see you, walk defensively, and give yourself an out.
- Walk towards traffic so they can see you better.
- Look everywhere for cars before crossing the street.
- If you are walking in the dark, find a traffic light or some other illumination before crossing. Always carry a flashlight when walking near traffic at night.
- Don’t cross until a gap in traffic gives you plenty of time to cross safely.
- Keep an eye out for people backing out of parking spaces and driveways.
- Behave predictably, always follow road rules so that cars will expect you where you are.
- Don’t wear headphones or other gear that prevents you from hearing cars.
Tips for Drivers to Avoid Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents occur because of many factors, but if you know how to drive safer to avoid them, you may never have to find out how it feels to have injured someone with your car. Some basic tips are:
- Always watch out (in all directions) for pedestrians. Even if they are not using a proper crosswalk, yield to pedestrians crossing the street.
- Be extra cautious when you back out of your driveway or a parking spot. If possible, have a rear camera installed to help with visibility.
- Slow way down when entering a busy area with crosswalks, lights, and intersections. Be super careful when driving through a school zone.
- If you see an older individual or one with physical challenges, be aware of them and steer clear to give them plenty of space. Be patient; they may take longer to cross the road.
- Make eye contact with the person crossing the road, so they know it is okay to cross in front of you.
- Always stop for busses.
- Never drive while impaired.
What to Do if You Are Involved in a Pedestrian Accident
Regardless if you are the injured pedestrian or a driver who hurt or killed a pedestrian, your first course of action is to get help. The legal system can be confusing and daunting when going it alone. Consult a trusted personal injury attorney to find out what your options are and how to proceed. Stay calm and understand that you are not alone.