Everyone is a pedestrian at some point. Every time you leave your house, walk into a store, cross the street with your child, go for a jog or walk through a park, you are a pedestrian.
While fatalities from traffic crashes have decreased over the past decade, the number of pedestrian fatalities has fluctuated very little. According to NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis, pedestrian deaths in 2012 accounted for 14 percent of all traffic related fatalities. You might walk for fun, for your health or as a means of transportation. Whatever the reason, everyone is a pedestrian at some point, and everyone plays a role in keeping our roadways safe.
Unlike vehicle-on-vehicle collisions, pedestrians involved in a crash are not protected by a car’s crumple zone, seat belts, or airbags. Pedestrians are just as responsible for their own safety around vehicles as are the motorists who operate them. Here are some common pedestrian-vehicle collisions and how to avoid them.
- Take time to be aware of your surroundings. Many collisions are caused by carelessness on the part of the driver or pedestrian. Always pay attention to vehicles around you, and follow all traffic rules.
- Avoid distractions. Cell phones, handheld devices, video games, newspapers, headphones, eating or anything thing else that takes your eyes, ears or mind off the road is a distraction. Any of these has the potential to distract you at the exact moment that you need to be alert.
- Stay Sober. One study showed that almost half of all traffic crashes resulting in pedestrian casualties involved alcohol consumption. Surprisingly, 35 percent of that total was on the part of the pedestrian. Alcohol impairs your decision-making skills, physical reflexes and other abilities just as much on your feet at it does behind the wheel.