Sharing the road with bicycles, trucks, motorcycles and buses seems reasonable because they are other vehicles. Drivers tend to think of roads for vehicles only but pedestrians are out there. There are joggers out on the roads, kids walking to school, pedestrians are everywhere and chances are everyone has been one! I was hit by a car in a parking lot and suffered a broken leg. Between 2003 and 2012, one pedestrian in the U.S. was hit by a car every 8 minutes on average. Of those hit, 47,025 were killed—16 times the number of people killed in natural disasters during the same period—and 676,000 were injured.
Fatality rates for those on foot appear to be growing, the report finds. Pedestrian deaths as a proportion of overall traffic deaths have risen since 2009, and in 2012, pedestrians accounted for almost 15 percent of all traffic fatalities in the country.
Here are some tips on how to avoid “collisions” with pedestrians:
Slow down for crosswalks
Crosswalks, particularly in big metro areas, don’t always command respect from drivers. But that’s all wrong because crosswalks aren’t just for those who are walking, jogging, or rollerblading. They’re also for you, the driver. Crosswalks protect you by designating a safe area for pedestrians to cross — which cuts down on jaywalking and unexpected pedestrian crossing. Slow down when you approach a crosswalk, always give the right-of-way to the pedestrian. If you’re making a turn, scan the road closely before turning.
One thing you may have forgotten since drivers ed: any intersection, whether marked or unmarked, is technically a crosswalk.
Practice driveway safety
Backing out of your driveway is one of those simple things you do a million times until you can do it with your eyes closed — which is exactly what makes it dangerous.
Take your time when backing out of your driveway. You should check the mirrors first but not rely solely on them. Actually turn and look behind your car.
Beware the parking lot
An alarming 52 percent of all back-over injuries happen in parking lots, according to data cited by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. When a car backs into a pedestrian, it’s considered a back-over accident.
Parking lots are breeding grounds for accidents because they’re full of both cars and pedestrians and they’re often unclear on who should go where. Keep your guard up when you navigate these relatively lawless lots.
Consider driving conditions
Weather and road conditions add to your stopping distance, which means if you’re driving fast during not-so-nice weather and a pedestrian runs into the street, you’re going to have a harder time stopping. Pedestrians lack the reflective material we rely on to identify other cars and cyclists, so always adjust your speed according to the weather. This is especially true at night.
Leave your smartphone alone
It’s well-known that distracted driving puts pedestrians at greater risk. DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE!!! A lesser-known problem is distracted walking. We’ve all been irked by a pedestrian who walks across the road with eyes (and brain) focused on an all-important text message. Avoid the temptation to multitask behind the wheel and keep an eye out for distracted walkers.
Stay alert for pedestrians with special needs
As a driver, keep an eye out for pedestrians who are at greater risk in crosswalk scenarios, including those who use a wheelchair, a cane, or another type of helping device. Also be aware of blind pedestrians.
Stay tuned for more on sharing the road and other topics and as always DRIVE SAFE!
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