Every year, some 4,000 individuals are killed in pedestrian accidents throughout the United States, and another 70,000 people are injured. Unfortunately, pedestrians represent one of the few demographics of road users that have experienced an increase in fatalities in recent years, and this is a trend that we can all play a role in reversing. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)
One of the most well-known efforts to curb pedestrian injuries and fatalities is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Everyone is a Pedestrian campaign, which is attempting to educate both drivers and pedestrians on ways to stay safe and share the road. Here are a few of the campaign’s most important tips for drivers and pedestrians:
Be On the Lookout-Pedestrians can be anywhere, especially in a congested city like Chicago. Be on the lookout for people walking everywhere and at all times. Use extra caution when driving in conditions that limit visibility, such as at night or in bad weather.
Use Caution in Areas Frequented By Pedestrians-Slow down and practice defensive driving when turning or entering a crosswalk. Yield and stop well before crosswalks to allow other vehicles to easily see pedestrians as well, and never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk.
Special Situations-In some situations, drivers need to be especially careful. When backing up for instance, pedestrians can easily go unseen in blind spots, and children are sometimes to small to be detected in a rear-view mirror. A few of the other areas where it is beneficial to be especially careful include school zones, neighborhoods, and parking lots.
Be Predictable-Follow the rules of the road, and obey signs and signals. Cross streets at crosswalks and intersections whenever possible; this is where drivers will expect to encounter pedestrians. If there is no crosswalk or intersection near where you are walking, try to locate a well-lit area where you have the best chance of seeing and being seen by traffic.
Be Visible at All Times-Wear bright colored clothing, even during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight after dark to ensure that you have the best chance of being seen.
Stay Alert at All Times-If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic to ensure that you are able to see what is coming. Don’t allow electronic devices to distract you, as they can take your eyes and ears off of the road. Look for cars in all directions, and never assume that a driver sees you or will stop for you.
Our Chicago accident lawyers have helped a number of victims of pedestrian accidents. For instance in one case our attorneys recovered a $1.25 million settlement for a 50-year-old woman who suffered numerous fractured bones, as well as spinal cord damage, when she was hit by a bus while walking in a crosswalk. Cases like these remind us that pedestrian injuries can alter lives forever, so we hope that these tips will help you and your loved ones stay safe, reversing the trend of rising pedestrian injuries one person at a time.