In the month of October, we observe National Pedestrian Safety Month. This month is dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of pedestrian safety and educating both pedestrians and drivers on how to share the road responsibly. With an increasing number of traffic crashes involving pedestrians, it is crucial to identify and understand potential hazards on the roads.
To improve pedestrian safety, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has campaigns to educate drivers and pedestrians about road safety. According to the NHTSA, there were 7,388 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in 2021. It’s crucial to improve safety on the roads, especially for vulnerable road users. Read on to learn essential driver and pedestrian safety tips.
Who is a Pedestrian?
It’s essential to define who a pedestrian is. A pedestrian is any person traveling on foot, whether walking, running, jogging, or hiking. Pedestrians include anyone who is not operating a motor vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle, electric scooter, or hoverboard. In California, pedestrians are any person who is traveling on foot or using human-powered devices, such as:
- Roller skates
- Scooters (not electric)
Pedestrians share the responsibility with drivers to prevent crashes. Understanding the traffic rules that apply to them is vital for their safety.
7 Safety Tips for Pedestrians
According to the Federal Highway Administration, each year, pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities account for 19% of all traffic fatalities. Each year, 6,000 pedestrians are killed in traffic crashes and about 76,000 pedestrians are injured. It’s crucial for pedestrians to observe the following tips:
Don’t Walk Distracted
Pay attention to your surroundings, especially when you cross streets. Avoid using your cell phone, using earbuds or headphones, or engaging in distracting activities while walking. Being aware of your environment significantly reduces the risk of traffic crashes.
Obey Traffic Signs and Signals
Just like drivers, pedestrians must obey traffic signs and signals. Wait for the pedestrian signal at crosswalks and only cross when it’s safe to do so. Many pedestrian signals show a walking person when it is safe to walk and a raised hand to signal that a pedestrian should not cross the street. However, if you have already started crossing the street, you may finish crossing.
Avoid Walking Under the Influence
Walking under the influence of alcohol or drugs impairs judgment and coordination, increasing the likelihood of accidents. If you plan to drink, arrange for a sober ride home such as public transportation or a rideshare service.
Wear Bright, Reflective Clothing
In the fall months, the sun sets earlier. Wearing bright and reflective clothing ensures that drivers can see you from a distance, especially during low-light conditions or at night.
Walk on Sidewalks Whenever Available
Whenever possible, use sidewalks. If sidewalks are unavailable, walk on the shoulder of the road facing traffic. When you walk facing traffic, you can see oncoming vehicles and react in time.
Cross at Crosswalks or Intersections
Always cross the street at designated crosswalks or intersections. Jaywalking, or crossing the street in undesignated areas, significantly increases the risk of pedestrian accidents. Before crossing the street, pause, then look left-right and then left again to ensure it is clear.
Watch for Cars Entering or Exiting Driveways
Be cautious when passing driveways or alleys, as vehicles might not expect pedestrians on the sidewalk. Make eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you before crossing their path.
National Pedestrian Safety Month highlights a shared responsibility for all road users. Both pedestrians and drivers play a crucial role in ensuring safety on the roads.
7 Safety Tips for Drivers
Distracted driving, such as texting or talking on the phone, significantly impairs reaction time. Stay focused on the road and avoid any distractions while driving.
Never Drive Under the Influence
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal and extremely dangerous. It impairs judgment, coordination, and reaction time, increasing the risk of traffic accidents.
Follow the Rules of the Road
Adhere to traffic laws and regulations. This includes obeying speed limits, stopping at stop signs, and yielding the right of way to pedestrians at crosswalks.
Follow the Speed Limit
Speed limits are set for a reason – they ensure safe driving conditions. Driving at excessive speeds reduces reaction time and increases the severity of accidents. School zones typically have lower speed limits. It’s essential to make sure you slow down in school zones and are prepared to stop at any moment.
Use Extra Caution Driving at Night
Visibility is significantly reduced at night. Use headlights appropriately, be mindful of pedestrians, and reduce your speed when driving in low-light conditions.
Never Pass Vehicles Stopped at a Crosswalk
If a vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk, it is likely because a pedestrian is crossing. Never attempt to pass these vehicles, as pedestrians may not be visible to you. Yield to pedestrians and ensure they cross the street completely before proceeding.
Be Extra Cautious When Backing Up
When backing out of a parking space or driveway, be extremely cautious. Check your mirrors and blind spots for pedestrians, especially children, who might not be visible from the driver’s seat.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
Technology such as pedestrian automatic emergency braking and rear backup cameras can help protect pedestrians, however, it’s vital that drivers take certain measures to operate their vehicles in a safe manner. Here are some pedestrian accident statistics:
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrian deaths account for 17% of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.
- The majority of pedestrian fatalities occur in urban areas (84%) versus rural areas (16%). This is in part due to increased traffic and congestion.
- More pedestrian deaths occur at night (77%) versus in the daylight (20%).
- Distracted driving, both due to smartphone usage and other distractions, has been a leading cause of accidents involving pedestrians. In 2021, there were 644 nonoccupants (pedestrians and others) killed in distracted driving accidents.
Do I Need a Pedestrian Accident Attorney?
Here are some factors to consider when deciding if you need a pedestrian accident attorney:
Severity of Injuries – If the pedestrian accident resulted in significant injuries requiring medical treatment, rehabilitation, or long-term care, consulting an attorney is advisable. A personal injury attorney can help you navigate the complexities of personal injury claims.
Disputes with Insurance Companies – If you encounter difficulties dealing with insurance companies, a pedestrian accident attorney can advocate on your behalf. They have the expertise to negotiate with insurance providers to ensure you receive fair compensation.
Determining Liability – Establishing liability in pedestrian accidents can be challenging. An experienced personal injury lawyer will investigate the accident, gather evidence, and determine the party at fault. This is crucial for building a strong case.
Legal Procedures – Navigating the legal system can be overwhelming, especially if you are dealing with injuries. A pedestrian accident lawyer can handle all legal procedures, including filing paperwork, gathering evidence, and representing you in court if necessary.
We Represent Victims of Auto Accidents
If you are seeking legal representation after a pedestrian accident, our team is dedicated to helping victims of auto accidents. We understand the complexities involved in pedestrian accident cases and work tirelessly to ensure our clients receive the compensation they deserve.
At Empire Accident Attorneys we maintain a 99% success rate and have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. At Our experienced attorneys are well-versed in pedestrian accident laws and will fight for your rights. Call our Moreno Valley personal injury law firm today to schedule a free consultation.