Safety Tips for Pedestrians and Drivers
The AARP and The Newnan Times-Herald featured tips on Monday for pedestrians and drivers who are distracted when they should be focused on safety.
Julie Lee writes for AARP:
Like many traffic fatalities, pedestrian accidents are fully preventable. And yet nearly 47,000 people were killed and 688,000 were injured in the U.S. while crossing or walking along a street between 2000 and 2009 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This means that a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle nearly every 7 minutes.
John Winters writes for The Newnan Times-Herald that according to the “City of Newnan Pedestrian Awareness Campaign” brochure, there are myths about pedestrian safety. One such myth is that a “walk” signal means it is safe for pedestrians to cross the street. But the fact is, although a “walk” signal means pedestrians have the right of way, those on foot still need to wait and search for vehicles before stepping onto the street.
Another myth, as Winters reports, is that pedestrians are safe in crosswalks. However, many pedestrians have been in crosswalks when being hit by vehicles. “Many motorists do not look for pedestrians when approaching a cross walk, especially when preparing to make a turn. A motorist may be looking for a gap in traffic or distracted,” Winters writes.
When walking at night, it is important to wear reflective clothing (not just white or light-colored clothing) and to carry a flashlight, because it is difficult for drivers to see at night.
Drivers have a greater responsibility than pedestrians do, because a vehicle is capable of causing serious and fatal injuries to pedestrians, due to its size and speed.
AARP writes that pedestrians should always walk on the sidewalk, and never on highways, and that they should heed the “walk” and “do not walk” signs, and not jaywalk.
As Winters writes:
Do not walk long distances under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Just as you should never drive under the influence, do not walk long distances or in traffic-heavy areas when you are under the influence. Call a taxi or use public transportation.
Be courteous. When a driver stops to allow you to cross, give him or her a quick wave to demonstrate your appreciation.
You wouldn’t drive distracted, so don’t walk distracted. Stay aware of your surroundings by not texting, using headphones, or talking on your cell phone.
AARP’s tips for drivers include the following:
Always be on the lookout for pedestrians, who can be found anywhere.
Stay alert and avoid distracted driving to make sure you are aware of pedestrians, like children, who could appear from between parked cars or behind other objects. “To avoid an accident, stay alert by avoiding distractions. Do not eat or drink, fiddle with the radio or navigation units, or use a cell phone while driving,” advises Lee.
Show caution by driving slowly in places like crosswalks and intersections where pedestrians might be looking to cross, and be on the lookout for children in school zones and residential areas.
AARP’s Lee advises further:
When stopping at an unmarked point, stop far enough in advance so that the drivers behind you can also prepare to stop. Furthermore, when approaching a red light, be sure to stop far enough behind the line for pedestrians to cross safely.