Pedestrian accidents occur each day throughout the United States and pose a significant risk to anyone walking on or near public streets. According to the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, an average of 460 people visit hospital emergency rooms for traffic related pedestrian injuries every day.
Below are pedestrian safety tips that can help prevent this type of accident from occurring.
1. Hang up and walk: Abstain from using your smartphone for texting, emails, internet, or music while walking or waiting near traffic. .
2. Use the sidewalk: Sidewalks are the safest place for pedestrians. However, many country roads and larger traffic arteries don’t have sidewalks. If you must walk on a road, walk as far over on the shoulder as possible, even if it’s in the dirt or grass. Always walk facing oncoming traffic. Pedestrians differ from bicyclists and should not walk “with” traffic. You have a better chance of avoiding any danger you see coming toward you.
3. Watch for turning cars: When crossing at an intersection, take extra care to watch for cars turning from and onto the parallel street. Cars turning left or right onto the road you’re crossing are usually checking the road for oncoming traffic and may not see a pedestrian. This also applies when walking on a sidewalk adjacent to an easement or driveway entrance. Look for any cars turning in…most cars making a right-hand turn from the flow of traffic will not stop unless they see you.
4. Use the crosswalk: Always cross busy roads using designated crosswalks. If there is no painted crosswalk, cross when it is safe to do so at an intersection where a crosswalk is likely to have been placed. Always watch for cars turning right.
5. Obey traffic signals: Whenever available, utilize the walk/don’t walk signals at marked crosswalks or intersections. Only walk when traffic stops and the signal reads “walk”. If you cross against the signals and you are struck by a vehicle, it is likely that a court (or an insurance adjuster) will find you responsible for your own injuries if you file a claim.
6. Be visible at night: When walking at night or during twilight hours, wear brightly colored clothing or reflective items. Reflective crossing guard vests or reflective belts are highly advisable, especially for those who walk or jog regularly during these times. You can also carry a flashlight, glow stick, or flashing LED light. Sports equipment makers offer strobing LED safety devices for pedestrians, similar to those used on bicycles. When worn correctly, strobing LED devices are clearly visible from over 1,000 feet away.
7. Look both ways first and keep watching for cars: Use extreme caution whenever crossing multi-lane roads. Be prepared to move quickly and keep your eyes up at all times. Check both ways before you start crossing and continue to check around in all directions until you reach the other side safely. When crossing at intersections, remember to watch for cars turning left or right from the street intersecting the one you’re trying to get across.