The Snowball Effect As the adage goes, “When I was your age, I had to…
People across the nation have taken to heading outdoors as an easy and healthy way to get out of the house, which means there are more people walking everywhere. That’s great news, but remember, whether you are walking or driving, everyone plays a part in keeping us all safe. And whether it’s walking in a neighborhood or to a store, at some point in the day, everyone is a pedestrian.
With that in mind, October is National Pedestrian Safety Month with the goal of increasing awareness about pedestrian safety, and reminding drivers and walkers that staying safe is a shared responsibility.
Sadly, as the end of Daylight Saving Time approaches and the nights get longer, the risks for people walking increase. From September to February, more than 30% of pedestrian fatalities occur between 6 p.m. and 8:59 p.m. Also, know that things like drugs and alcohol, and distraction not only affect someone’s ability to drive, but to walk safely. The National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA) shared the following tips for drivers and pedestrians as we kick-off National Pedestrian Safety Month:
- Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available. If one isn’t available, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
- Keep alert at all times; don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
- Whenever possible, cross streets at crosswalks or intersections, where drivers expect pedestrians, and look for cars in all directions, including those turning. If neither are available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross safely and watch for traffic as you cross.
- Be visible at all times. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night. Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach to make sure you are seen.
- Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways, or backing up in parking lots.
- Look out for pedestrians everywhere, at all times. Use extra caution when driving in hard-to-see conditions, such as nighttime or bad weather.
- Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk. And, never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. There may be people crossing that you can’t see.
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, and stop well back from the crosswalk to give other vehicles an opportunity to see and stop for the crossing pedestrians.
- Follow the speed limit, especially around people on the street. Follow slower speed limits in school zones and in neighborhoods where children are present.
- Be extra cautious when backing up—pedestrians can move into your path.
This October, and throughout the year, let’s work together to keep everyone safe on the roads. And drivers remember: “Always yield for pedestrians!”
Learn more about road safety at NHTSA.gov/Pedestrians.