On average, one pedestrian dies from injuries received in a traffic crash every two hours.
A pedestrian is any person who travels by walking or similar means, such as jogging, using a wheelchair, walker, skateboard, or rollerblades. Trauma Centers rank pedestrian injuries as one of the top three common injuries that are commonly treated. Pedestrian injuries that are treated most often include:
- Cuts, bruises and/or scrapes on the head, hands and/or face
- Brain injuries
- Broken or fractured bones
- Spinal cord injuries
Pedestrian injury and death can be avoidable. Walking while distracted is becoming a growing problem and is often the reason behind many accidents involving pedestrians. Distracted pedestrians increase their risk for an accident by being less focused on where they are walking and not being fully aware of potential hazards, like oncoming vehicles.
One of the most common distractions for pedestrians is the cell phone. Texting or typing on your cell phone, scrolling through social media, looking at photos, reading your latest news updates — it all takes away from your ability to act fast and navigate traffic both on and off the sidewalk.
Here are some pedestrian safety tips you should practice:
- Keep your head up, pay attention to moving traffic and the area around you.
- If you are going to listen to music, only use one ear bud or headphone. Not being able to hear what’s happening around you leaves you isolated and less likely to react quickly and get out of the way, if needed.
- Cross only at designated crosswalks or intersections, making sure to obey traffic signs and signals.
- Never assume a driver will stop for you. Try to make eye contact with the driver as they enter into the intersection or pedestrian crosswalk.
- When crossing the street look to your left, then right, and then left again. If you are crossing at a corner you should look over your shoulder to make sure a vehicle is not approaching.
- If there is no sidewalk, walk facing the direction of oncoming traffic. Make sure to stay far on the side and provide plenty of space between you and moving vehicles.
- Wear bright clothing during the day and at night add reflective materials to your outfit, or even carry a flashlight, to make sure you are visible to drivers.
With summer upon us, walking to your destination will be a great way to enjoy the weather and stay active. Make sure you prevent pedestrian injury and even death by staying alert, limiting distractions and practicing pedestrian safety skills.