Pedestrians are among the most vulnerable people on our roadways. Because there’s little to protect them from passenger or commercial vehicles, pedestrian accidents often result in fatalities and catastrophic injuries. Because of these risks, it is important for motorists and pedestrians alike to do their part in being vigilant and safely sharing the road.
Driver error, inattention, and negligence are leading causes of car accidents. As a pedestrian, it’s important to do all you can to protect yourself and your loved ones when walking the streets, navigating crosswalks, and at any time motor vehicles are nearby.
Below are five tips to help pedestrians avoid accidents:
- Remain Visible – Visibility is the most important factor in pedestrian safety. During the day, pedestrians, joggers, and others traveling by foot or bike can wear light or bright clothing. At night, reflective clothing or materials can help drivers notice where you are. Carrying a flashlight will also increase visibility.
- If Possible, Make Eye Contact with Drivers – If you are about to enter a crosswalk, make eye contact with drivers before you move into the street. Making eye contact is a simple way to communicate with drivers so they understand your intention to cross.
- Use Sidewalks – If you are a pedestrian, it is imperative to walk on sidewalks and in marked cross walks when possible. These are the places that motorists expect to see pedestrians. By remaining within motorists expectations, pedestrians can increase the likelihood of being seen by drivers.
- Use Crosswalks – Designated crosswalks are designed to increase safety, so it is important for pedestrians to use them and to use signals appropriately. J-walking, crossing too early, and entering the street from between parked vehicles, for example, will catch drivers off guard and increase the likelihood of a collision. Most pedestrian accidents occur at intersections, so it is very important to be vigilant when crossing.
- Don’t Text and Walk – Distraction is a serious threat to pedestrian safety, and it can affect both drivers and pedestrians. Being distracted and text messaging while walking put pedestrians at risk. If a pedestrian is not alert, they significantly diminish their ability to spot potential dangers. Always stay alert while walking, especially in crosswalks.
According to the CDC, 445 people are treated in emergency rooms for pedestrian-related accidents every day. On average, one pedestrian is killed in a traffic accident every two hours. As a pedestrian, it is extremely important understand the risks involved when traveling on foot or even while bicycling – it could very well save your life.
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