Preventing Pedestrian Deaths: It’s a Two-Way Street
At some point in the day, we’re all pedestrians. We share the road with other walkers, people on bikes or scooters, and of course, drivers. While we work together to ensure that the roads are safe for everyone, unfortunately, pedestrian injuries and fatalities remain high. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were nearly 7,000 pedestrians killed in traffic accidents in 2018 – the highest number of pedestrian fatalities in close to 20 years. How do we improve these numbers? It starts with understanding exactly what pedestrians and drivers can do to help prevent accidents.
For pedestrians, there are a number of extra steps they can take to ensure their safety:
- Stay on the designated pedestrian crossing areas. The State of Georgia is working to keep roads safe for drivers and pedestrians. As part of that campaign, they have installed a number of crosswalks in heavily traveled areas – many of these crosswalks have additional visual and auditory signals. If you’re on foot, it is safer to cross busy intersections using the designated areas, where drivers are more aware of pedestrians.
- Don’t assume that drivers see you. Unfortunately, drivers do not always pay attention as best they should. They may be distracted, or their sight may be impaired due to bad weather or the angle of the sun. Pedestrians should not assume that other drivers can see them; they should make sure that they make eye contact with the driver and that traffic has stopped before they enter the roadway. Additionally, pedestrians who frequently use roadways should consider wearing reflective material that is highly visible to drivers.
- Check for other moving vehicles. Sometimes, sticking to the crosswalks and waiting for the drivers to stop is not enough – you need to make sure that the next vehicle in the line of traffic sees you, too. Drivers can be impatient; if they see someone stopped and they’re not sure why, they might attempt to go around the stopped vehicle. Check for moving vehicles, and also, pay attention to parked cars that might be heading back into traffic.
Just as important as it is for pedestrians to take precautions while they’re on the roadway, drivers should also be careful and on the lookout for people walking in traffic. There are several steps drivers can take to prevent pedestrian injuries:
- Slow down and be alert in pedestrian areas. If you are driving through an area that frequently has pedestrian traffic (ex: school, community center, senior living area), you should slow down and be extra alert. Pedestrians can be unpredictable, and you need to give yourself as much time as possible to react. Also, if someone is already in the crosswalk, make sure you give them plenty of room as well as time to get to their destination safely.
- Adhere to School Zone rules. While we’re on the topic of schools, school zones and school buses tend to have their own rules for traffic and pedestrian safety. To keep kids safe as they walk between their school and their bus, drivers should slow down, give children and buses plenty of room, and pay attention to the crossing guards. Younger children may not understand traffic yet, and so it is the drivers’ responsibility to keep them safe.
- Don’t make assumptions if the vehicle ahead of you stops. If you’re in traffic and the vehicle in front of you makes a sudden stop, your reaction may be to try and pull around them. But be careful doing that. You don’t know why that vehicle made a sudden stop; it might be for a pedestrian that has darted into the road. Make sure you give the other drivers around you plenty of room.
- Do not drive under the influence. When you consume alcohol or drugs, it reduces your reaction time. If you drive under the influence, you put yourself and everyone around you at risk. That includes other drivers and pedestrians. Additionally, pedestrians cannot immediately recognize if someone is intoxicated behind the wheel, so, while they might be acting with caution, the other driver would still be putting them in danger.
Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Hudson King
If you have been injured by another vehicle while walking in traffic, you may be eligible for compensation. At Hudson King, our team of personal injury attorneys have the experience and knowledge necessary to pursue the best possible results in your case. Contact us today at 229-396-5845 for a free case consultation.
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