It’s easy to relax our vigilance when on the road—whether as a pedestrian, cyclist, or driver. But failing to see that pedestrian, look both ways, or use the crosswalk, could be a fatal mistake. Recently, there has been an upward trend in pedestrian fatalities. According to Richard Retting, an author of the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) report: “We are projecting the largest year-to-year increase in pedestrian fatalities since national records have been kept, and therefore we are quite alarmed.”
This increase is projected to reach 10%. It’s difficult to determine exactly why the number of fatalities is on the rise. Most likely, it is a combination of increased cell phone usage while driving and walking, a higher number of people choosing to walk instead of drive to work in urban centers, and an increase in vehicle usage in general. It is both the driver and the pedestrians responsibility to be safe—though drivers take on an even greater responsibility when they choose to operate a large motorized vehicle around vulnerable pedestrians. Let this upward trend serve as a reminder to be an aware and proactive pedestrian.
- Make yourself visible. Walk in well-lit areas, wear bright, noticeable, or reflective clothing (especially at dusk and night). If you can, make eye contact with drivers before you cross in front of their car.
- Put the smartphone down, and don’t wear headphones. This blocks two of your most important senses, which allow you to both hear and see any imminent danger.
- Traffic rules are in place for a reason. Cross the road at a crosswalk, and if you can’t, then cross at a well lit area when their is a large break in traffic. Also be aware of the rules drivers around you are following—this will help you anticipate what they might do.
- Don’t drink and drive, but also don’t drink and be a pedestrian. Almost half of automobile accidents resulting in pedestrian injuries involve alcohol; surprisingly, intoxicated pedestrians make up 34% of that total.
- As a driver, do your part: Keep a constant look out for pedestrians, and slow and prepare to stop whenever you approach a crosswalk—even if no pedestrian is visible. In bad weather with poor visibility, turn on your headlights to alert pedestrians of your vehicle’s presence.
Be safe on the roads, and ensure the number of pedestrian fatalities goes down, and safety goes up. Your well-being is important to us. Call BMR Insurance at 714-838-1911 for a free quote.
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