We all know how easy it is to become complacent about safety, whether within our homes or when out and about. Even when driving, the familiarity of our car and our regular route can lead to complacency, and leave room for bad habits to start creeping in. While not everyone drives a vehicle, we are all pedestrians for different parts of our day. And whether you are behind the wheel or crossing the road on foot, we have a shared responsibility for each other’s safety.
With the current focus on changing habits in order to help save our planet, encouraging people to leave their pollution-spouting vehicle at home and walk as much as possible, we should also be aware of the dangers to pedestrians while walking, jogging, or crossing roads.
Statistics and information regarding pedestrian accidents
In 2018 alone, there were 6,227 pedestrian deaths due to traffic accidents.
Alcohol consumption is a considerable danger to pedestrians’ walking safety , as recent statistics show over 48% of either drivers or pedestrians may display a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit.
The majority of fatal pedestrian accidents happen during darkness, with 26% of fatalities occurring between the hours of 6 and 9pm, according to the United States Department of Transportation. This points to visibility being a serious concern, though speed certainly plays a role. In both cases, when visibility is reduced, these poorer driving conditions demand extra measures of care and caution.
According to the World Health Organization, pedestrians are still being killed worldwide on our roads, with pedestrian accidents making up roughly 22% of all annual road traffic deaths. This of course does not include the many more left with life changing injuries. Such injuries cause trauma, grief, and stress—not to mention financial strain.
One might assume that jaywalking statistics would play a large role in pedestrian deaths, however, in urban areas it seems the increase in accidents is equally due to increased population without the balance of increased infrastructure to support the growing density.
The startling reality is that those most at risk are adults over the age of 65 and children under 15. This, combined with the knowledge that 2018 saw the largest number of pedestrian deaths in 30 years, demonstrates a need for walking safely to be a higher priority for drivers and pedestrians alike.
How can pedestrians keep safe?
While many state organizations have ongoing programs to educate the public on walking rules for pedestrians, it is up to the individual to educate themselves and make good use of the information readily available. While pedestrian safety is also the responsibility of drivers, there are some basic guidelines and walking safety tips that pedestrians can adhere to in order to stay safe.
Basic safety guidelines for pedestrians:
- Always use a sidewalk or path when available. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the shoulder and always face oncoming traffic.
- Rule of thumb: do not presume a driver has seen or sees you—try to make eye contact as they approach.
- Always use crosswalks or intersections to cross roads, even small roads where you think there is no risk. If none are available, look for a well-lit, safe part of the road that allows you to cross safely.
- Be attentive at all times. Do not let electronic devices distract you while trying to cross the road.
- Wear clothing that will get you noticed. Lighter colors during the day are advisable, but at night reflective clothing is strongly recommended. There are many “visibility” gadgets to get you noticed such as flashlights and reflective arm / leg bands.
- Do not walk when under the influence of alcohol or drugs as they impair reaction, coordination, and judgement.
How to teach your kids pedestrian safety
No parent should have to fear for their children walking home from school or down the street to a neighbour’s house. As pedestrians, your children also need to know the essential walking safety tips that you yourself follow.
As they grow and become more independent, try introducing these pedestrian safety tips to your children:
- Think, look and listen. Children should learn from an early age to “stop” at the curb and look left, right and left again. Teach them never to chase a ball or toy out into the road, and to be mindful when crossing, listening and looking for oncoming vehicles.
- Teach them never to wear headphones, talk on their phones, send messages, or listen to music while walking along busy roads, especially when trying to cross a street—even at the safest parts.
- Show them where to cross. While you are still accompanying your child, always point out where it is safer to cross, using pedestrian crossings wherever possible.
- Avoid blind spots where they might not be seen—they should know never to cross the road on a bend, on a hill, or from in between parked cars.
- Be visible when out at night. Teach them from a young age to wear reflective clothing and bright colors so that they can be seen.
At Valiente Mott, we are happy to help you on any road safety issues you may have. If, unfortunately, you have been involved in a car accident or a pedestrian accident, we will gladly look after you and guide you through what can be a traumatic experience. Let our Las Vegas personal injury attorney team deal with the legal end while you and your loved ones get back on your feet again. Our legal team is knowledgeable and experienced: you will be in caring hands with Valiente Mott.
Valiente Mott is a law firm dedicated to helping personal injury victims. We handle all personal injury matters, including, but not limited to, car crashes, defective products, and catastrophic injury. We are compassionate, yet aggressive when protecting personal injury victims and families who lost loved ones in fatal accidents. Learn more about who we are.
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