We rarely are more vulnerable than when walking in urban areas, crossing busy streets and negotiating traffic. We all are pedestrians from time to time, so it's important to pay attention to what is going on around us. In 2019, an estimated 7,668 pedestrian died in traffic and non-traffic incidents, with 6,205 of those killed in traffic crashes on public roads, according to Injury Facts.
All Ages Are Vulnerable
According to Injury Facts, in 2019, more than 17% of all traffic deaths were pedestrians. Every age group is vulnerable, though 45- to 74-year-olds have 20% or more pedestrian deaths as a percentage of all traffic fatalities.
Follow these tips to stay safe as a pedestrian:
- Whenever possible, walk on the sidewalk; if no sidewalk is available, walk facing traffic
- Follow the rules of the road, obeying all traffic signs and signals
- Cross streets at crosswalks
- If no crosswalk is available and your view is blocked, move to a place where you can see oncoming traffic
- Look left, right and left again before crossing the street, making eye contact with drivers of oncoming vehicles to make sure they see you
- Stay alert – avoid cell phone use and wearing earbuds
- Avoid alcohol and drug impairment when walking
- Wear bright and/or reflective clothing, and use a flashlight at night
- Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways or backing up in parking lots
- Children younger than 10 should cross the street with an adult
Head Up, Phone Down
Distracted walking incidents are on the rise, and everyone with a cell phone is at risk. We are losing focus on our surroundings and putting our safety at risk. The solution: Stop using phones while walking, and not just in crosswalks and intersections. Over half of distracted walking injuries occur in our own homes, proving that we need to stay aware of our surroundings whether indoors and out.
Pedestrian Safety Is a Shared Responsibility
When driving, help keep pedestrians of all ages safe:
- Obey all traffic laws, especially posted speed limits in school zones
- Watch for pedestrians at all times and be extra cautious when backing up
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, making eye contact to indicate that you see them
- Never pass vehicles stopped at crosswalks
- Stay alert – avoid distracted driving
- Do not drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs