Drivers and pedestrians alike share the responsibility of keeping themselves and others on the road safe. Many strides have been made by the Federal Highway Administration to increase pedestrian safety. Infrastructure improvements have added a variety of safety measures, including more medians and redesigned roads allowing for better pedestrian/bicycle traffic flow.
Here are some useful tips and guidelines to follow:
Make sure you’re visible to drivers at all times and make eye contact with them whenever possible. This is especially important at night, in low-light conditions such as dusk or dawn or in inclement weather. According to NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis, 32 percent of all pedestrian fatalities occur between 8 p.m. and 11:59 p.m.
- Wear lightly colored or reflective clothing at night and brightly colored clothing during the day.
- Stay in well-lit areas, especially when crossing the street.
- If possible, make eye contact with drivers in stopped vehicles to ensure they see you before you cross in front of them.
Safety Practices for Pedestrians
Stay Alert – Avoid Distractions
Distractions are everywhere today and becoming more and more difficult to avoid. Remember that, as a pedestrian, your eyes and ears are your best tools for keeping safe. Stay alert and watch out.
- Put down your phone. Smartphones and handheld electronic devices are a daily part of life, but they take your eyes off of the road and distract your attention.
- Don’t wear headphones. Your ears will tell you a lot about what is happening around you – be sure to use them.
Follow the Rules
- Know and follow all traffic rules, signs and signals. You need to be aware of the rules vehicles around you must follow to properly anticipate what drivers will do. This will help increase your safety.
- Never assume a driver will give you the right of way. Make every effort to make eye contact with the driver of a stopped or approaching vehicle before entering the roadway.
Walk in Safe Places
- Use crosswalks when crossing the street. If a crosswalk is unavailable, be sure to find the most well-lit spot on the road to cross and wait for a long enough gap in traffic to make it safely across the street.
- Stay on sidewalks whenever possible. If a sidewalk is not available, be sure to walk on the far side of the road facing traffic. This will help increase your visibility to drivers.
- Avoid walking along highways or other roadways where pedestrians are prohibited.
Avoid Alcohol Consumption
- Almost half of all traffic crashes resulting in pedestrian casualties involve alcohol consumption. Surprisingly, 34 percent of that total was on the part of the pedestrian. Alcohol impairs your decision-making skills, physical reflexes and other abilities just as much on your feet as it does behind the wheel.
Safety Practices for Drivers
- Look out for pedestrians at all times. When you are operating a vehicle, you have accepted a heightened responsibility for other people on the road. Safety is a two-way street. Often, pedestrians— especially younger ones— are not where they should be or where you would expect them to be. Remain vigilant at all times.
- Follow posted speed limits at all times, especially in areas of heavy pedestrian traffic. This is even more important in areas that have lower speed limits, such as school zones and neighborhood streets where pedestrians may appear suddenly.
- Overall visibility is limited in bad weather conditions and poorly lit areas. Not only is it more difficult for drivers to see oncoming pedestrians, it also is harder for pedestrians to see you. Make sure your lights are on and you use your signals properly. Use extra caution in these circumstances.
- Be mindful of pedestrians when pulling into and out of driveways – especially if you are backing up. Pedestrians can easily enter your path without your knowledge.
- Always yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.
- When approaching a crosswalk, reduce your speed and be prepared to stop.
- When you are stopped at a crosswalk, allow enough room between your vehicle and the crosswalk so other drivers can see the pedestrians you have stopped for.
- Do not pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. They have stopped to allow pedestrians to pass or make sure the way is clear.
Do Not Drive Under the Influence
Alcohol and drugs impair your reaction time, reflexes, decision-making skills and overall cognitive functions. Getting behind the wheel while impaired puts everyone in danger.
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