With Spring weather inching closer and closer more people are getting out and enjoying the sun. This includes pedestrians walking around neighborhoods and towns and bicyclists trading in their keys for a helmet.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 3 pedestrian groups most at-risk for accidents are seniors 65 and older, kids ages 5–9, and people under the influence of alcohol.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there were roughly 65,000 pedestrian injuries due to car accidents in 2014.
With these sobering facts in mind, here are some tips to keep pedestrians and drivers safe.
Know where the kids are
Children between the ages of 5 and 9 are at the greatest risk of being hit by a vehicle. Children are smaller and less visible and they can be unpredictable. The law imposes a higher duty of care on drivers when it comes to children.
The presence of children is a warning of danger to the driver to exercise greater care. Thus, a driver must exercise a greater degree of care when they know or should know that small children are at play in the area; for example, while driving by schools, parks, and residential areas.
Also remember to never pass a stopped school bus, as kids could be crossing the street from a number of hard-to-see angles.
Slow down for crosswalks
Crosswalks, particularly in big metro areas, don’t always command respect from drivers. But the truth is crosswalks aren’t just for those who are walking, jogging, or rollerblading. They’re also for the driver. Crosswalks protect drivers by designating a safe area for pedestrians to cross — which cuts down on jaywalking and unexpected pedestrian crossing.
When you approach a crosswalk, always give the right-of-way to the pedestrian. If you’re making a turn, scan the road closely before turning.
Practice driveway safety
Backing out of your driveway is one of those simple things you do a million times until you can do it with your eyes closed — which is exactly what makes it dangerous.
Take your time when backing out of your driveway. You should check the mirrors first but not rely solely on them. Actually turn and look behind your car. It can also help to roll down your windows so you can hear approaching footsteps or smaller kids and give your horn a light honk so pedestrians know you’re there even if they can’t see you.
Beware the parking lot
An alarming 52% of all back-over injuries happen in parking lots, according to data cited by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. When a car backs into a pedestrian, it’s considered a back-over accident.
Parking lots are breeding grounds for accidents because they’re full of both cars and pedestrians and they’re often unclear on who should go where. Drivers and pedestrians should keep their guard up when navigating parking lots.
Consider driving conditions
Weather and road conditions add to your stopping distance, which means if you’re driving a tad fast during not-so-nice weather and a pedestrian runs into the street, you’re going to have a harder time stopping. Pedestrians don’t always have reflective material like cars and cyclists, so always adjust your speed according to the weather. This is especially true at night.
Leave your smartphone alone
It’s well-known that distracted driving puts pedestrians at greater risk. A lesser-known problem is distracted walking. Avoid the temptation to multitask behind the wheel and while crossing the street.
Stay alert for pedestrians with special needs
As a driver, keep an eye out for pedestrians who are at greater risk in crosswalk scenarios, including those who use a wheelchair, a cane, or any other type of assistive device. Also be aware of blind pedestrians.
If you have suffered injuries as a pedestrian, contact our pedestrian accident attorneys today for your free consultation by calling 1-800-444-5309.