Pedestrian Safety - 12 Tips for Crossing Streets
6,000. That’s how many pedestrians were killed in 2017, and these statistics are sadly on an upward trend. Last year’s traffic fatalities are just the tip of the iceberg, with 2017 marking a startling 33-year high nationwide. But what’s to blame for this spike in the death rate, and what can pedestrians do to stay as safe as possible while crossing streets and intersections? Let’s dive into the roots of the problem with pedestrian safety and discuss 12 useful tips for walkers using pedestrian crossings.
Distracted driving is a significant factor behind a lack of pedestrian safety and death tolls nationwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are three main types of driver distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive. So whether a driver takes their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or mind off of driving, the chances of endangering themselves and pedestrians increases.
While pedestrians are also sometimes to blame, dangerous driving habits worsen the situation. In an NPR interview, Alissa Walker, an editor at Curbed, offers this insight, “Speed is what kills. If you're hit by a car that's going 25 miles an hour, you have an 80 percent chance of surviving. If you're hit by the same car going 40 miles an hour, you only have a 20 percent chance of surviving.”
The number of absentminded pedestrians and distracted walking incidents are on the rise as well. The National Safety Council states that one of the solutions to the lack of pedestrian safety is to stop using phones while walking because it causes us to lose focus on our surroundings.
Distracted driving is known for being a tried and true problem, at least compared to the growing number of inattentive walkers (hence the traffic safety laws prohibiting the use of cell phones while driving.) But according to Safety.com, some towns are catching up, like Fort Lee, New Jersey, which has banned texting while walking.
If both distracted drivers and walkers are to blame for the absence of pedestrian safety on the roads, then what can pedestrians start doing to reduce their risk of fatality while walking around town? Let’s look at 12 pedestrian safety tips you can start putting into practice today.
Pedestrian Safety Tips
1. Say no to walking and texting, and be aware of your surroundings.
2. When listening to music, keep the volume levels to a minimum so you can hear road noises and activity.
3. Only cross the street from the street corners, not from the middle of the road. If you can't cross at a corner, find a crosswalk.
4. Never let go of your child’s hand when crossing the street.
5. Drivers’ visibility becomes limited on rainy days, so be more aware of your surroundings then.
6. When getting off public transportation like the bus, if you need to cross the street, do so from behind the bus, not in front of it.
7. Stay alert for vehicles that are turning the corner. Make sure you’re visible to them.
8. Don’t blindly trust the pedestrian crosswalk light. Look both ways before crossing the street.
9. Stay sober. Your chances of getting in an accident increase when walking while intoxicated.
10. If one lane of traffic stops for you, it doesn’t mean that another will follow suit. Check every lane before crossing the street.
11. Before crossing, make sure you’re not near a large visual barrier that could block drivers’ view of you, like a bus or parked car.
12. When on the sidewalk, make sure you’re far away enough from the street to step back in case a vehicle hops the curb.
Whether you’re a pedestrian or a driver (or both), letting go of distracting habits while commuting is an essential step to fostering pedestrian safety on the roads and around pedestrian crossing areas. Take the first step to saving on auto insurance as well. Call an Infinity agent at 1-800-INFINITY or get an online quote today.
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