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Pedestrian Safety Choices Make a Difference

Steve Wagner

In the United States, a pedestrian is killed every other hour. Pedestrian injuries occur every seven minutes. This means thousands of deaths and an even higher number of injuries in any given year. Most at risk are adults over 65, children, and those who are under the influence of alcohol. Though it may seem like there is little a pedestrian can do to protect himself or herself against a vehicle, there actually are some very sensible ways to ensure you are as safe as possible while walking in the presence of moving cars.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines a pedestrian as “any person on foot, walking, running, jogging, hiking, sitting, or lying down” and recommends the following many of the following safety steps/precautions:

  • Walk on a sidewalk if available, and if not, walk on the shoulder, facing traffic.
  • Avoid using distractors like phones or radios.
  • Be vigilant about sharing the road with cars and never assume a driver sees you.
  • Don’t be unpredictable. Cross at crosswalks or other places on the road where drivers expect to see pedestrians.
  • Stay off of freeways, restricted-access highways and other pedestrian-prohibited roadways.
  • Avoid dark clothing, especially if traveling at night. Bright clothing will ensure you visibility in the day.
  • Reflective clothing and/or carrying a flashlight is highly encouraged at night.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs.

In addition to these suggestions, there are very basic ways to keep yourself safe while walking, and with children being one of the most likely injured pedestrian groups, these can serve as good tools for teaching and modeling responsible behavior to your children.

Keep your eyes up. For children and adults alike, this doesn’t just apply to electronics. So often, children can be focused on their feet while walking. Teach them to keep their head up and their attention on alert to their environment.

Understand the movement of traffic at any given location. While we certainly wish otherwise, it is not safe to assume a driver will yield the right of way to a pedestrian. Take a moment to notice traffic patterns and to teach your child how to do so as well.

Cross in safe places. Unless you can see in both directions, you should not cross. It is a terrible and potentially disastrous idea to dart across a road quickly because you cannot see in one or both directions. Choose your crossings carefully and model and explain this behavior to the young people in your care.

Check for cars in all directions, even if at a walk signal. It is critical to look in all directions when crossing, even if you are at a crosswalk with a walk signal. Ensure that all cars have stopped and that no others are heading for the intersection.

Overall, Indiana’s pedestrian accident rates are lower than many more populous states, but the risks are very real. The possibility of death or serious injury in a pedestrian accident is higher than if you are in a vehicle at a time of an accident. If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident while crossing the street or walking alongside a roadway, the attorneys at Wagner Reese are here to assist you in recovering damages for your injuries, lost income, and suffering. Call our pedestrian accident attorneys at (888) 204-8440 today to schedule a completely free consultation.


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