Walking – the original form of transportation – is something that everyone still does throughout the day. Walking around in public, however, has become more and more dangerous as cars, trucks, trains, and even bikes are taking more and more of the space available. Even walking on the sidewalk can be fraught with potential dangers, from skateboarders to bikers to joggers. As a result, 4,735 walkers were killed in pedestrian-related traffic accidents in 2013, a 15% increase from 2009, when 4,109 pedestrians were killed.
Pedestrian safety is an often-overlooked transportation issue, but it is extremely important. Just like with driving, however, the best ways of staying safe as a pedestrian can change with the seasons: Environmental factors play a huge role in many car accidents, so preparing for them properly can make everyone much safer, whether you are a driver or a pedestrian on the side of the road.
Here is how to practice good pedestrian safety, as the calendar finally flips from the dog days of summer, to the refreshing fall months.
While a new season changes some of the details of pedestrian safety, the typical, year-round rules still apply:
- Always use a sidewalk, when there is one to walk on,
- If there is no safe sidewalk to use, keep to the far left side of the roadway, so you can face oncoming traffic,
- Always look both ways – left-right-left – before crossing a street, to make sure there are no oncoming cars or other traffic,
- Use crosswalks when crossing the street.
As the days get shorter and cooler, however, there are additional things to keep in mind, to stay safe as a pedestrian.
The days are getting shorter, so it gets dark earlier. Studies have shown that pedestrians are much more likely to get hurt when it is dark outside than when it is light. An astounding 72% of pedestrian fatalities happen in the dark. As we push towards winter, it gets dark earlier in the day.
Knowing this, plan ahead. Avoid wearing dark clothes if you know that you will be walking on the side of the road after the sun sets. If you need to wear something dark, such as a suit, during the day and cannot change clothes for your walk home, carry a reflective arm or leg band that will reflect a car or truck’s headlights, and let the driver know you are there.
As leaves begin to fall, know that wet leaves on the road are as slippery as ice for cars. Be especially careful if you see piles of leaves near the side of the road from someone raking. While heavier than dry leaves, wet leaves can still get blown into the road by a strong gust of wind. There they can stick to a car’s tires and make it almost impossible for the driver to stop or turn.
Hancock Injury Attorneys are the premium personal injury law firm in the Tampa area. We regularly deal with pedestrian injuries, and have successfully compensated countless people who have been injured through no fault of their own while walking on the side of the road.
If you are walking, and get hurt by a driver this fall, call Mike Hancock at (813) 534-6929, or contact him online, for a free consultation.