Pedestrian accidents are some of the most devastating types of accidents that occur every year in Washington. Sadly, in the state of Washington in 2013, a pedestrian or bicyclist was involved in a crash nearly once every three hours, according to a preliminary report of traffic accidents in the state in 2013. To help stay safe while walking, take note of these 10 basic pedestrian safety tips.
Pedestrian Safety Tip #1: Cross at Crosswalks
Crossing at a crosswalk is one the most basic safety precautions you can take while walking. During school hours, crosswalks will typically be stationed with crossing guards, increasing pedestrian safety. What’s more, it’s illegal for a motorist to not stop at a crosswalk if a pedestrian is present, according to Washington Revised Code Chapter 46.61.235. Crossing at a crosswalk will also make you more visible to motorists.
Pedestrian Safety Tip #2: Wear Bright Colors
Speaking of visibility, wearing bright colors when walking will increase your chances of being seen by passing motorists. Pink, yellow, orange, or green are all easy to spot, especially if daylight is scarce. At the very least, avoid dark colors like black, dark blue, and others that might be more difficult to see, especially at night.
Pedestrian Safety Tip #3: Look Both Ways Every Time
Before crossing a street, it is important to look both ways for oncoming cars. Look left, right, and then left again. Additionally, beware of parked cars, as a parked car may reverse or pull out of the parking spot without much warning.
Pedestrian Safety Tip #4: Put Away the Distractions
In today’s world, technology is something nearly everyone always has at hand. While talking on the phone, texting, or listening to music while walking may be tempting, walking while distracted is extremely dangerous. When walking, put the phone or mp3 player away. Awareness of surroundings while walking is a critical part of pedestrian safety.
Pedestrian Safety Tip #5: Hold Children’s Hands When Crossing
If you’re walking with children, holding their hands while crossing the street can help keep them safe. Never allow children to run while around vehicles, or to cross a street without adult supervision.
Pedestrian Safety Tip #6: Use a Flashlight at Night
In addition to wearing bright colors to increase your visibility, using a flashlight or other light source in the evening hours can help drivers see you. A flashlight can also help you to see uneven surfaces or cracks in the road or sidewalk, which can reduce your risk of tripping and falling.
Pedestrian Safety Tip #7: Utilize a Safe Route to School
Consider pedestrian safety for kids who walk to school too. A safe route to school can be a great way to encourage walking and pedestrian safety for children. Creating a safe route increases awareness when children walk in groups, and can reduce traffic congestion – and therefore pedestrian risks – in the area.
Pedestrian Safety Tip #8: Make Eye Contact with Drivers
Whenever you’re crossing a street, make sure that drivers see you. One of the best ways to make sure that a driver sees you is to make eye contact with the driver before crossing the street.
Pedestrian Safety Tip #9: Walk on the Sidewalk
Whenever possible, pedestrians should walk on the sidewalk. If a sidewalk is not available, always walk as close to the edge of the road as possible, and walk towards oncoming traffic rather than with your back to traffic. Walking towards traffic increases your awareness of vehicles as well as your visibility to drivers.
Pedestrian Safety Tip #10: Beware of the Effects of Alcohol While Walking
While you should never drink and drive, walking while intoxicated can also be dangerous. Pedestrian safety data from 2012 published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals that of all pedestrian killed in accidents in 2012, 36 percent had a blood alcohol content level of .08 or higher. If you’re intoxicated, call a sober friend or a cab.
Get More Information about Pedestrian Safety and Accidents
Our Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents blog provides additional information about pedestrian safety and accidents. And if you’re ever involved in a pedestrian accident, call Max Meyers Law, PLLC at 425-399-7000.