California’s beautiful weather is one reason pedestrians and runners enjoy getting exercise outside year-round. Yet, pedestrians and runners take risks when out on the road. An inattentive driver easily can miss seeing a pedestrian enter a crosswalk at an intersection, and in seconds, the pedestrian’s life can change forever. When a driver hits a pedestrian, causing their death is not uncommon. Nor is leaving them with devastating injuries, which can take months to recover from or leave lifelong injuries.
In 2019, pedestrian deaths in accidents reached a 30-year high in the United States, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Administration. Nearly 6,600 pedestrians died in auto accidents that year, up 5% since 2018 and a 60% increase since 2009.
Reasons why pedestrian deaths are on the rise
Some of the reasons that safety experts believe pedestrian deaths are on the rise include:
- More drivers are driving pickups and SUVs. Vehicles with heavier weight have more force when they are involved in accidents. That additional force easily can kill a pedestrian.
- With the rise in cell phone use behind the wheel, more drivers are distracted, leading to more accidents.
- Drivers driving drunk or pedestrians who are drunk are more likely to be involved in serious accidents.
- Walking in the dark has become more deadly for pedestrians.
Preventing pedestrian accident deaths
Drivers need to practice the following safety tips to prevent hitting a pedestrian or runner on the road:
- Watch out for pedestrians everywhere, at all times.
- Use extra caution when driving at night or in bad weather conditions.
- Slow down and be prepared to stop near intersections and crosswalks.
- Never pass vehicles stopped in a crosswalk.
- Avoid using your phone while driving.
- Never drive drunk.
- Follow slower speed limits near school zones and in neighborhoods where children may be present.
Pedestrians and joggers can decrease their chances of being involved in a fatal or devastating accident by practicing these safety tips:
- Follow all rules of the road and obey traffic signs and signals.
- Only cross the road at intersections and crosswalks.
- Try to make eye contact with drivers before entering the road.
- Wear bright clothing in the early morning or later evening, so drivers can easily see you.
- Avoid using your phone while crossing the road.
- Don’t walk while intoxicated or high on drugs. Alcohol and drugs impair your judgement, which can lead you to not make good decisions as a pedestrian.
One of the most frightening things as a driver or pedestrian is being involved in a serious accident. Everyone wants to arrive at their destination safely. By following these tips, both drivers, pedestrians and runners are more likely to do that.