GREENSBORO, N.C. — This year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is launching the first "National Pedestrian Safety Month" campaign in October. The goal is to increase awareness about pedestrian safety, reduce injuries and fatalities on roadways, and remind both drivers and walkers that staying safe is a shared responsibility.
More than 6,283 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in 2018, equating to a pedestrian death every 84 minutes. That's according to the latest report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Safety experts say the risks for pedestrians increase as the end of Daylight Saving Time approaches and the nights get longer. In fact, statistics show, more than 30-percent of pedestrian fatalities happen between 6:00 p.m. and 8:59 p.m. between the months of September and February.
As COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease across the state of North Carolina, some people are choosing to head outdoors for activities and more. Whether it’s walking in a neighborhood or to a store, at some point in the day, everyone is a pedestrian. You already know drugs, alcohol and distractions can affect your ability to drive and walk safely.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is offering other safety tips for pedestrians and drivers:
Pedestrian safety tips:
- Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available. If one isn’t available, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
- Keep alert at all times; don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
- Whenever possible, cross streets at crosswalks or intersections, where drivers expect pedestrians, and look for cars in all directions, including those turning. If neither are available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross safely and watch for traffic as you cross.
- Be visible at all times. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night. Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach to make sure you are seen.
- Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways, or backing up in parking lots.
Driving safety tips:
- Look out for pedestrians everywhere, at all times. Use extra caution when driving in hard-to-see conditions, such as nighttime or bad weather.
- Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk. And, never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. There may be people crossing that you can’t see.
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, and stop well back from the crosswalk to give other vehicles an opportunity to see and stop for the crossing pedestrians.
- Follow the speed limit, especially around people on the street. Follow slower speed limits in school zones and in neighborhoods where children are present.
- Be extra cautious when backing up—pedestrians can move into your path.