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
- 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.
- 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.
- Always use sidewalks when possible. Most accidents happen when someone is walking in the street.
- 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.
- 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.
- If a road has no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the road facing traffic.
- Always cross at intersections. Look left, then right, then left again before proceeding.
- Look for traffic when stepping off a bus or from behind parked cars.
- As a passenger, get in or out of a car on the curb side of the street.
- 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