Growing up we all learned the "look both ways" rule before crossing the street. But today, we need to be looking left, right, center and sometimes behind us before stepping off the sidewalk. Pedestrians are at a greater risk to be hit by a car today because drivers have more distractions than ever. Thanks to cell phones, today's drivers can talk, text, tweet, take photos, or even play a game at the same time as driving their car. This makes the roads a potentially deadly place for pedestrians.
In 2013, there were 4,735 pedestrians killed in traffic accidents. Over 156,000 people were treated for injuries in emergency rooms in that same year. When we think of pedestrian safety, most of us think about it pertaining to cars driving alongside those pedestrians and putting their lives in danger. Perhaps those vehicles run red lights, make illegal turns, or text while driving.
Data from 100 hospitals across the country show that since 2005, the rate at which pedestrians on cell phones are injured has more than doubled. (This includes surprising incidents such as falling off bridges or walkways and stepping out in front of moving traffic.) The most at risk group for injuries like these are those between 16 and 25 years old. In 2004, there were 559 emergency room visits for pedestrians with “cell phone” injuries. By 2010, that number had risen to 1,500.
If every person is to remain safe during their daily travel, whether driving, riding or walking, drivers and pedestrians must work together to remain alert. Here are some tips for both groups for remaining alert on the road. Tip Number One: Put Down the Phone!
- Remain Alert:
- Avoid distractions, like cell phones. A person looking down at a phone is not able to see danger headed their way.
- Don't wear headphones or earbuds. You need to be able to hear traffic around you.
- Don't assume vehicles see you. They might be texting (or talking, tweeting, taking photos, putting on makeup, etc.) You get my point, stay alert.
- Don't Drink and Walk:
- It may sound silly, but an inebriated person walking down the street poses a great risk. In fact, 2013 data showed that of all pedestrians killed in traffic accidents that involved alcohol, 35% of the pedestrians had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher, the legal limit in many states, including Texas.
- Be Seen:
- Wear bright clothes when walking at night. Reflective clothes or gear is even better.
- Carry a flashlight. This will help drivers see you and you see any obstacles in your pathway.
- Cross at designated crosswalks and in well-lit areas. If that is not possible, choose an intersection. Try to make eye contact with drivers before you cross to make sure they see you.
- If there is a sidewalk, use it. If not, walk on the shoulder facing traffic.
- Remain Alert:
- Don't drive distracted. Put down the phone; that text can wait. Focus on the road; not the candy bar in the your purse, not the yelling children in the back seat, not the radio station you want to listen to.
- Watch for pedestrians along the road. This includes people walking on the highway because their car broke down, children running out into the street after a ball, joggers, mom pushing strollers, etc.
- Pay extra attention and reduce speed in areas with high pedestrian traffic, like downtown hangouts, school zones and driveways.
- Don't Drink and Drive:
- It's the law. Drinking and driving kills. Alcohol slows your cognitive functions, impairs your reflexes, and reduces your reaction time and ability to make split-second decisions. Need we go over this?
- Be Seen:
- Have your lights on before dusk and after dawn. Turn them on in rain and fog. Pedestrians need to be able to see you.
- Make eye contact with pedestrians at intersections and crosswalks. This will ensure you both acknowledge each other's presence. Always yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
In the end, for both pedestrians and drivers, it comes down to being alert and taking an active part in your surroundings, making sure you are visible, and staying away from alcohol. Hitting a pedestrian or being hit by a car is sure to land both parties in financial trouble, not to mention the legal woes for the party at fault and life-threatening injuries to the victims. Following some of these simple tips can save many lives.
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It is common to feel overwhelmed after an accident; rest assured you are not alone. If you or someone you know have been injured in an accident, contact us at 877-276-CRASH (2727) or visit us online at CrashLawyers.com. Our team of legal experts will provide you with a free consultation to evaluate and discuss your case. We will fight on your behalf to bring you justice and the compensation you are entitled to receive. Contact us today.
Sources Cited Pedestrian Safety. (2016, February 25). Retrieved November 08, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/Motorvehiclesafety/Pedestrian_safety/index.htmlSmola, J. (2013, September 17). Study: Cell phone-related pedestrian injuries soar. Retrieved November 08, 2016, from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/09/17/cell-phone-walking-injuries-rise/2824515/Tips for Pedestrian Safety. (n.d.). Retrieved November 08, 2016, from http://exchange.aaa.com/safety/pedestrian-safety/tips-pedestrian-safety/#.WCNVA9IrLcsWalk This Way! Taking Steps for Pedestrian Safety. (2016, March 14). Retrieved November 08, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/Features/PedestrianSafety/index.html