We all have our own preference when it comes to transportation. Some of us drive cars or SUVs, while others prefer to get from place to place using cabs, the L train or Chicago’s CTA bus system. Yet, regardless of how we get around, there is one thing that all of us have in common-at one point or another we all become pedestrians. This idea is the driving force behind the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s ‘Everyone is a Pedestrian Safety Campaign.
Pedestrians were one of only a few demographics of United States road users to experience an increase in annual fatalities last year, with a total of 4,743 people losing their lives because of pedestrian accidents. Our lawyers represent clients who have suffered personal injuries in the City of Chicago or anywhere else in Illinois, as well as the survivors of pedestrians who have been killed due to the reckless or negligent actions of another person. We understand just how debilitating injuries associated with pedestrian traffic accidents can be, and that is why we are committed to helping prevent them. Here are a few NHTSA tips for how pedestrians and motorists can work together to make everyone a little safer.
When You Walk:
• Follow the rules of the road, obeying signs and signals. This makes you predictable and allows drivers to take preventative measures well in advance.
• Stay alert. Don’t become distracted by cell phones, IPods, or anything else that might take your eyes and ears off of the road.
• Always use a sidewalk if one is present, but if one is not available, walk facing oncoming traffic so that you can see what’s coming long before hand.
• Cross the street using crosswalks and intersections; this is where drivers expect pedestrians to be. If a crosswalk is not available, look for cars in all directions and use extra caution to cross safely.
• Most importantly, never assume that a driver sees you, or that they will stop for you. Make eye contact with a driver and ensure that they have acknowledged your presence before walking out in front of their vehicle.
When You Drive:
• Pedestrian safety is just as much the driver’s responsibility. Use extra caution when driving in conditions of low visibility, and always slow down when turning or entering a crosswalk.
• Yield far enough back from a crosswalk to allow other vehicles to see pedestrians crossing. Likewise, never pass a vehicle that is stopped at a crosswalk, as they may be allowing someone to cross that you cannot see.
• Be especially cautious when backing out of driveways or parking lots, it is easy for children or even adults to become lost in your vehicles blind spots.
• Always decrease your speed in school zones and neighborhoods where children may be present. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
If we are going to put a dent in the number of pedestrian car accidents nationwide, we must first realize that we are all members of both camps. If we work together, pedestrians and drivers can make a real difference, and save hundreds of lives.