Pedestrian injuries and deaths have shot up to a frightening high, as drivers claimed the lives of more than 7400 pedestrians in 2021. The data comes from the Governors Highway Safety Association and reflects a growing concern throughout Indiana and the United States.
However, despite these grim statistics, drivers and pedestrians can reduce these injuries by taking several vital precautions.
Safety starts with your actions
When drivers and pedestrians look out for one another, it can help reduce the risk of driving-related injuries and fatalities. So, whether you’re in the driver’s seat or walking across the street, here are a few tips that can keep you and others safe:
If you’re driving:
- Concentrate on the road: While it may seem like common sense, it can be easy to miss a yield sign, change in speed limit or change in traffic light if you aren’t paying attention. Silencing your phone, limiting noise and refraining from eating or drinking behind the wheel can help you focus. It can also help reduce the risk of an accident.
- Give pedestrians space near crosswalks: Pedestrians in Indiana almost always have the right of way. When approaching a crosswalk, ensure you give people plenty of room to cross safely. Additionally, ensure you stop far back from the crosswalk, so vehicles in other lanes have enough time to stop or yield.
- Back out of parking spaces with caution: Parking lots can be hectic, especially when they’re crowded. When backing up, look out of your rearview window, go extra slowly, and double-check your blind spots. It’s particularly important to check your blind spots if you’re parked near a light post or other object that could obstruct your vision.
If you’re a pedestrian:
- Stay on the sidewalk (if one is available): Sidewalks are often the safest places for pedestrians to walk. However, not every place has sidewalks. When you don’t have one, stay to the left side of the street and walk facing road traffic. And, of course, never walk on freeways or in restricted areas like construction zones.
- Be mindful of your surroundings: Pedestrians, like drivers, must also pay attention to their surroundings. Even if you’re walking on the sidewalk, limit your cellphone use, look both ways before crossing the street and always watch for oncoming traffic at intersections.
- Make yourself visible: Remaining visible is important when walking around at night. Even if drivers have their headlights on, it doesn’t guarantee they’ll always see you. Carry a flashlight, wear reflective material or try to stay in heavily lit areas.
Everyone plays a role in pedestrian safety
When you pay attention to your surroundings, you can help reduce the risk of pedestrian accidents in your community. At the same time, it only takes one negligent driver to injure you in an accident. If you do get hurt, you can seek compensation for your injuries.