Looking out for pedestrians key to safe driving

Thousands of people each year are killed on America’s roadways, and many of those deaths could have been prevented. In fact, in 2016, 16 percent (5,987) of all roadway-related deaths were pedestrian fatalities. Tragically, in a crash between a vehicle and a pedestrian, the pedestrian is far more likely to be killed or injured. From 2015 to 2016, there was a startling 9 percent increase in fatalities, which is the highest number of pedestrian deaths per year since 1990.

As a community, there are simple steps everyone can take to reduce the number of these tragedies each year. Keeping America’s roads safe is a shared responsibility.

Driving at the posted speed limit, or even slower based on conditions like wet roads, or snow or ice, and focusing on the road, instead of an electronic device, also gives the driver more time to “see, identify, and react” in time to brake for pedestrians.

While it is the responsibility of the driver to stay alert and aware of their surroundings, there are also actions the pedestrian can take to stay safe, like being predictable and using crosswalks or intersections if possible, and walking on a sidewalk or path when one is available. Pedestrians should also remember to “dress for the occasion.” If you are out during the day, wear bright colors, and at night, be sure to wear something with reflective materials especially on parts that move (like your arms, legs and feet) or carry a flashlight. In short, make yourself visible.

Both drivers and pedestrians should always keep road safety habits in mind, too, like not using electronic devices or drinking or using drugs while driving or walking because they can impair judgement. Everyone who uses America’s roads has a duty to drive safely, which, in turn, helps everyone get to their destination unharmed.

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