Summer is just weeks away! As the cold weather becomes more inviting, more people will be heading outside. As we being to make plans to be outdoors more in the coming months, it is wise to review pedestrian safety tips that can keep you alive and well as you enjoy being outdoors.
Below, we’ll 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
Walking offers many benefits, and we never discourage it. However, we believe that drivers and pedestrians need to work together to make the roads and walkways safer for all!
The benefits of being walking can include:
- Lower blood pressure
- The reduction of the risk of type 2 diabetes
- Weight loss
- Improved mood
- Lower transportation costs
Pedestrians Accidents Are at a 30-Year High
Recently, our blog discussed how pedestrian accidents are rising at an alarming pace. The Governors Highway Safety Association released a study which found that over 6,200 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2018. This figure represents a 4 percent increase from 2017 and is the highest rate of pedestrian deaths since 1990.
Even though motor vehicle deaths are on the decline, pedestrian deaths have ballooned from about 4,500 to over 6,000 in just 10 years. While other traffic deaths decreased by 6 percent, pedestrian deaths have increased by 35 percent. According to experts, this increase is due in part to an increased number of pedestrians walking on roads that were only designed for cars. Since infrastructure in the United States favors cars, pedestrians have a significant disadvantage walking on streets with no sidewalks or unsafe features for walking.
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.
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 aren’t equipped to survive any 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 the following:
- 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 or other types of permanent disability
- Scarring and disfigurement
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 frustrating 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?
How You Can Stay Safe
In a perfect world, drivers would pay attention to pedestrians without being told to do so. Because this doesn’t happen, pedestrians must be cautious. To protect themselves, pedestrians should be proactive about their safety instead of relying on those they share the roads with.
Here are some basic tips you can implement to make your walk safer:
- Make eye contact with drivers before crossing a street.
- 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).
- Watch for turning vehicles at intersections.
- Pay attention to all lanes of traffic instead of the ones closest to you.
- Don’t drink and walk—alcohol consumption is involved in 34% of pedestrian collisions.
In 2017, former U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx committed to making our roads safer for pedestrians by attempting to reduce the pedestrian collision rate. Former 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 worked with communities to gather data about pedestrian safety for the implementation of road improvements.
PennDOT: Increasing Awareness for Pedestrian Safety
To increase pedestrian safety, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation offers free Yield to Pedestrian Channelizing Devices to municipalities. These signs are meant to be deployed at intersections with a record of pedestrian accidents. The signs are designed to remind motorists that they should yield to pedestrians whether they are walking in a marked or unmarked crosswalk. PennDOT claims these signs have helped to reduce pedestrian crashes in the state by 25 percent since 2001.
Do You Need a Pennsylvania Pedestrian Accident Attorney?
Our pedestrian accident lawyers hope that you remain safe as you enjoy walking in your community and throughout Pennsylvania. If you’ve suffered injuries in a vehicle accident, you need a pedestrian accident lawyer who understands Pennsylvania laws to fight for your compensation. Medical bills lost wages, and other financial loses may be recoverable with the help of the experienced team at Handler, Henning & Rosenberg. We’ve helped recover tens of millions of dollars for clients, and have been a Pennsylvania institution since 1922!
Call Handler, Henning & Rosenberg at (888) 498-3023 to request a free consultation and case evaluation.