As we deal with the last few cold snaps, it is hard to believe that summer is only a few weeks away. As we being to make plans to be outdoors more in the coming months, it is a good idea to review pedestrian safety tips that can keep you alive and well as you enjoy being outdoors.
Below, we talk about the benefits of walking, the risks of walking, and give you resources to help keep you safe from dangerous intersections or high-risk collisions.
The Benefits of Being a Pedestrian
Pennsylvania encourages people to use walking as an alternative form of transportation because walking offers so many benefits. We also believe that the benefits of walking outweigh the risks of being struck by a car. After all, we’re not trying to discourage pedestrians from sharing the streets with drivers! On the contrary, we believe that drivers need to make an effort to accommodate walkers and allow them the benefits of a healthy commute.
The benefits of being a pedestrian include:
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower bad cholesterol
- Raise good cholesterol
- Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
- Lose and/or maintain a healthy weight
- Improves your mood
- Keeps you physically fit
How You Can Stay Safe
In a perfect world, drivers would pay attention to you without your effort—but it’s unfortunately not a perfect world. Being a pedestrian in 2017 means taking responsibility for your visibility. Below, we provide links to different federal and state safety initiatives designed to create safer streets and communities.
Here are some basic tips you can implement to make your walk safer:
- Make eye contact with drivers before crossing.
- Don’t wear headphones will walking alongside a street.
- Avoid using your phone while crossing streets.
- Make sure you’re walking against traffic (on the left of the street).
- Don’t drink and walk—alcohol consumption is involved in 34% of pedestrian collisions
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx committed to making our roads safer for pedestrians by reducing the number of motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians. Last year, Secretary Foxx launched "Safer People, Safer Streets Initiative" to help communities develop better walking and bicycling networks and to identify and address safety issues. The program will also work closely with communities to conduct research to increase safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.
PACOMMUTES offers a variety of information including Pennsylvania pedestrian laws and pedestrian safety tips. You can also view a list of walking trails and paths throughout Pennsylvania. PACOMMUTES encourages everyone to complete a walkability scoreboard for their community to rate how safe it is for pedestrians. You can also use the information to contact local officials to report problems and promote pedestrian safety.
Safe Routes also offers excellent pedestrian safety tips, including access to Pennsylvania's Pedestrian Safety Video Series by PennDot. You can also find more information about how to stay safe as a pedestrian in Pennsylvania.
The Risks of Being a Pedestrian
Due to the complete lack of protection afforded to a pedestrian, car accidents tend to be extremely serious and fatal. After all, human beings simply aren’t equipped to survive any kind of impact with a 2-ton metal machine. When a motor vehicle strikes a pedestrian, the pedestrian has no protection against the impact of the vehicle.
This causes severe injuries including:
- Traumatic Brain Damage (TBI)
- Fractures and broken bones
- Other head and brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back, hip, and knee injuries
- Lacerations, cuts, and bruises
- Internal bleeding and damage to internal organs
- Paralysis and/or other types of permanent disability
- Scarring and disfigurement
Even a low impact collision with a car can result in catastrophic injuries for the pedestrian that can result in death. And the risk is, unfortunately, only increasing. From 2010-2015, researchers have found that pedestrian accident fatalities have increased by 25 percent—they now make up 15 percent of all fatal car collisions. That’s not even bringing up the rising number of non-fatal accidents.
Some experts blame the use of smartphones for endangering the lives of pedestrians. Recent surveys discovered that up to 70 percent of drivers use their phone while on the road. Even if that’s just for 3 seconds to read a text or change a song, it’s enough time to travel over 100 yards at 55 mph.
How Often Do Pedestrian Accidents Occur?
The NHTSA estimates that a pedestrian is killed every two hours and a pedestrian is injured every seven minutes in the United States in a traffic accident. When interviewed, roughly 40 percent of pedestrians admit they do not expect drivers to yield the right of way to them even when they are in a marked crosswalk. It is extremely sad that drivers do not pay enough attention to what is going on outside of their vehicle to see pedestrians and take measures to avoid collisions with pedestrians. What can be done?
Do You Need A Pennsylvania Pedestrian Accident Attorney?
Our Harrisburg pedestrian accident lawyers hope that you remain safe as you enjoy walking in your community and throughout Pennsylvania. However, if you have been injured in a vehicle accident, you need a pedestrian accident lawyer who understands Pennsylvania laws to protect your right to receive compensation for your injuries.
Call Handler Henning & Rosenberg, LLP to request a free consultation and case evaluation. We want to seek justice on your behalf from the driver who caused your pedestrian accident.