10 Ways Pedestrians can Stay Safe on Texas Roadways

10 Ways Pedestrians Can Stay Safe

Texas ranks as the 10th most dangerous state for walking commuters, with nearly 4,200 pedestrian deaths between 2003 and 2012. The total number of traffic fatalities has decreased, yet pedestrian accidents are on the increase. In 2012, 15 percent of all traffic fatalities involved a person on foot.

Experts say that southern states are more likely to be dangerous places to walk because of their rapid post-war development, when new roads were built wider to accommodate more cars at higher speeds. The statistics seem to agree.

Driver Actions that Lead to Pedestrian Injuries

There are many different driving actions that contribute to pedestrian accidents. The most common action involves the driver’s failure to yield to a person in the street, which leads to almost half of all pedestrian accidents.

The overwhelming number of injuries involving pedestrians are a result of inattentive drivers (distracted drivers) who are either not watching the roads closely, or who misjudged people in the process of crossing the street.

Turning vehicles tops the list of driver actions that lead to pedestrian accidents and deaths. At intersections with signals, vehicles that are turning account for another large portion of accidents. More accidents occurred with vehicles turning left than those turning right.

Clearly, intersections are the number one hazard for pedestrians walking in congested areas. The use of cell phones and electronic devices largely contributes to these accidents, and these devices should never be used by a driver travelling through such an area. Unfortunately, though, drivers continue to drive distracted. You must protect yourself.

How to Be a Safe Pedestrian

  1. Remember that drivers, especially in the city, may not always yield as you would assume. Be sure to follow traffic signals and pause to make sure drivers see you before you proceed into the street.
  2. Always pay close attention and realize that many drivers, unfortunately, are not paying attention to the road but instead are distracted by electronic devices. Assume they don’t see you.
  3. Always use sidewalks when possible. Most accidents happen when someone is walking in the street.
  4. Be extremely alert when crossing any roadway. Stay on the right-hand side of crosswalks. Drivers are supposed to yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks.
  5. If you are not crossing at a marked crosswalk, yield to vehicles on the roadway. If you’re hit while jaywalking, the driver may not be liable and his or her insurance may not cover your injuries.
  6. If a road has no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the road facing traffic.
  7. Always cross at intersections. Look left, then right, then left again before proceeding.
  8. Look for traffic when stepping off a bus or from behind parked cars.
  9. As a passenger, get in or out of a car on the curb side of the street.
  10. Make eye contact with drivers before you cross the street.

Be sure to teach your children these safety tips as well, as they account for 40% of pedestrian accidents.

What are some additional safety tips that you use when walking along the roadways? Please share.


article source: txdot.gov



Danger Increasing for Pedestrians Surrounded by Distracted Drivers

Kay Van Wey warns of increasing dangers for pedestrians on the roadways with distracted drivers

Distracted drivers are not only putting their own lives at risk more and more, they are also taking the lives of innocent pedestrians sharing the roadways. Recent studies show an increase in pedestrian deaths as a result of distracted drivers. 50% more pedestrians died at the hands of distracted drivers in 2010 than in 2005.

Distracted driving has become a public threat and is pervasive in our society, making it that much more difficult to deal with. If you stand at the road side and watch drivers, you will most likely see many who are texting, talking, using a GPS, or fidgeting with a cellular device in some way.

According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are three main types of distraction while driving:

  • Manual distraction, which involves taking your hands off the wheel (i.e., eating or applying makeup while driving),
  • Visual distraction, meaning your eyes are no longer on the road (i.e., texting),
  • Cognitive distraction, taking your mind off driving

Although the number of motor vehicle deaths has declined in the United States, distracted driving deaths, including pedestrians killed by distracted drivers, continue to rise. Pedestrians who are sharing the roadways by cycling, walking, or other activities, are going to have to be more aware of this threat.

Today, if most of us see a driver who does not have a young child restrained properly in a car seat, we are likely to be upset with the driver. Many of us will say something to the driver, demonstrating our anger and lack of acceptance for placing a child’s life in danger. However, when we see someone using a cellular device while driving, it is somehow more acceptable. This has to change, as we realize more and more the threat we are placing on the lives of others by being so distracted while driving.

Cases of distracted driving are likely under reported as well because it is so difficult for police to prove. This makes distracted driving much more difficult to enforce than other laws, like child restraint laws. The evidence on policies intended to curb distracted driving is mixed, and some are just not working. Policy makers suggest that if this is the case, we need to think about marking crosswalks and bike paths more clearly, and separate cyclists more from the dangers of traffic.

65 percent of pedestrian victims of distracted driving crashes were male between the ages of 25 and 64 years old, Caucasian, and more likely to be struck outside of a marked crosswalk in a city. Bicycling victims were mostly male — 83 percent, between the ages of 25 to 64 years old and Caucasian. About half of the accidents occurred during daytime hours.

Those who enjoy cycling, walking, or running near busy streets need to be fully aware of their surroundings, and know that distracted drivers are all around, placing them in danger.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a pedestrian accident involving a distracted driver, you should call an attorney who can assist you with a claim against the driver. Call Kay Van Wey of Van Wey Law in Dallas, Texas at (214) 329-1350, to get the facts sorted out.