Walking to work. Jogging down a busy street. Even just walking through a parking lot.
At one time or another, we are all pedestrians.
Unfortunately, it seems like we hear about a pedestrian being hit by a vehicle on an increasingly regular basis. It begs the question: how many of these crashes could have been avoided?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates 66,000 pedestrians were injured—and 4,735 killed— in traffic crashes in 2013 … just in the United States. Sadly, that’s a 2% increase in pedestrian fatalities from the year before.
So what can be done to help decrease this number?
Pedestrians can’t control what drivers do, but they can take steps to protect their own health and safety.
NHTSA Pedestrian Safety Tips
Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available.
If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
Stay alert at all times: don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
Use the crosswalk.
If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, cross in a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic.
Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach you to make sure you are seen.
Be visible at all times. If you walk at night, wear bright clothing or reflective material at night—or even use your phone as a flashlight.
There are many resources offered by the NHTSA and other organizations that help raise awareness to children, adults and seniors. Educate yourself and your loved ones to be a safe, smart pedestrian!
This post was originally published on Jan. 31, 2014, and has since been updated.