Almost 51 million kids attend some form of education facility during the school year. So that means there will be endless amounts of squeals, giggles, and pedestrian-based activity during summer vacation. While walking is the oldest and often most reliable mode of transportation, it’s not always the safest. According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) there were almost 6,000 pedestrian fatalities in 2017. And that’s just three fewer pedestrian deaths than the previous year. While drivers are often at fault that’s not always the case. Fortunately, there are some simple and effective tips for both drivers and pedestrians so summer remains safe and fun for everyone.
Be and Remain Visible
Both drivers and pedestrians need to be seen at all times. Pedestrians should wear bright or reflective clothing to ensure they’re noticed. Using a flashlight and walking in well-lit paths at night is essential. Avoid bushes, buses, and other obstacles when crossing paths or the street so drivers are aware of your presence. Drivers, on the other hand, should use their lights during weather changes and dim-lit driving times.
Focus and Avoid Distractions
Over 95% of Americans own some form of mobile phone, and 77% of those are smartphones. While distracted driving instantly comes to mind as one of the primary causes of traffic-based fatalities, few people realize how common distracted walking is as well… until it’s too late. But if you put your phone away and really study a busy walkway, you’ll realize just how common it truly is. As summer hits with a fury, more and more kids will want and need to stay connected. But rules need to be applied. Just as your teens should never text and drive, they should also avoid texting while walking. The habit to focus and avoid distraction can be a matter of life and death.
Follow All Traffic Rules
Drivers and pedestrians need to make sure they know traffic signs and signals as well as be able to follow basic traffic rules to ensure mutual safety. Staying on clear sidewalks and walking paths, waiting for street lights, and never darting out in front of a vehicle are essential safety habits. A pedestrian should never assume a driver will automatically give them the right of way just as a driver shouldn’t assume a visible pedestrian won’t demand it. Maintain eye contact and respect to avoid unnecessary injuries.
Use and Pay Attention at Crosswalks
Not all places have crosswalks, but modern communities and large cities generally do. Working crosswalks are the safest places for pedestrians to cross heavily traveled roadways. Pedestrians are easily visible to drivers and drivers, in turn, are legally required to yield when they’re in use. If a crosswalk isn’t available, cross at the most well-lit area of the road or at a traffic light after waiting for a decent enough gap in traffic to cross safely.
Do Not Walk or Drive Under the Influence
Driving while intoxicated in any form can and will increase the chances of a serious accident. But so will walking while intoxicated. Drunk drivers are responsible for approximately 15% of pedestrian fatalities annually, but surprisingly, 35% of pedestrian deaths are due to pedestrian’s own intoxication levels. It may seem like a no-brainer to avoid alcohol or other intoxicants while walking or driving, but statistics don’t lie. Follow these simple tips to get the most out of the season and avoid a fatal car accident.