It is easy to take your safety for granted as a pedestrian. But whether you are out for a jog, parking your car or crossing the street, it is important to remember that pedestrians are especially vulnerable when they are sharing the roadways. On average, a pedestrian was killed in a crash every 88 minutes in 2017 alone, and 2018 saw the most pedestrian fatalities since 1990.
In an effort to increase pedestrian awareness and safety on the roads, the U.S. Department of Transportation designated October as national Pedestrian Safety Month for the first time. Whether you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle or commuting by foot, everyone has a responsibility to follow the rules and share the road.
Here are a few ways you can keep yourself and others safe.
Staying safe as a pedestrian
When you are a pedestrian, keep these safety tips in mind:
- Walk on the sidewalk. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as close to the shoulder as possible.
- Do not walk while distracted – just like a driver, your focus should always be on the road.
- Cross the street where drivers are more likely to expect you, such as crosswalks or intersections.
- Always look for cars in all directions before crossing the street. If possible, make eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you.
- Be extra cautious when near driveways, exits or parking lots where cars may back up suddenly.
- Do not walk while you are under the influence. Drugs and alcohol can cause distractions and impair your judgment and coordination.
Protecting pedestrians as a motorist
As a motorist, the following are ways you can avoid putting pedestrians at risk each time you get behind the wheel:
- Obey the speed limit, especially in school zones or neighborhoods where pedestrians are common.
- Yield to pedestrians and give them plenty of space at crosswalks to ensure other vehicles see them.
- Do not try to pass a car stopped at a crosswalk as they might be yielding for a pedestrian
- Be especially cautious when you are backing up your vehicle
- Look for pedestrians everywhere
No matter how you get around, following these guidelines will ensure the roads stay safe for pedestrians and motorists alike.