Did you know that almost 6,000 people in the United States were killed in a pedestrian accident in the year 2017? There are a number of factors that play into pedestrians being at risk of being involved in an accident. With the number of distracted drivers out there combined with factors like inclement weather, pedestrian accidents happen at any time.
There are many things that you can do as a driver to prevent a pedestrian accident. It is on you to make sure that you’re aware of these things and that you keep those around you safe.
The good news is that you’ve come to the right place to learn about what you can do to avoid pedestrian accidents. Whether it is driving slower in areas with road work or putting your phone down, keep those around you safe. Continue reading for helpful tips.
Slow Down in Pedestrian Areas
There are some areas where pedestrian traffic is much greater than others. Some areas that come to mind are downtown New York City and the walkway on Abbey Road in London. Pedestrian lanes exist as a way to provide people on foot a safe area to walk and cross the street.
As soon as you see roadside stripes that signify an area where pedestrians cross you need to start slowing down and keeping an eye out for people that are trying to cross the street. An important thing to remember is that pedestrians are unpredictable and it is difficult to determine what they’re going to do.
With how large and heavy vehicles are, a split second can be the difference between an accident and injured pedestrian and a mere close call.
Be Patient, Especially With the Elderly
Everyone walks at a different pace, and it is likely that there will be times when you’re driving that you encounter people who walk slowly that want to cross the street. Their slower pace might be due to disabilities or it could be old age. It is important that you are patient with people crossing the street.
It is especially important to remain patient because elderly people crossing the street might also have impaired vision that will prevent them from seeing your vehicle and reacting to avoid a pedestrian accident.
Another pedestrian that you need to be aware of and stay patient with is a blind pedestrian. Blind pedestrians need extra time to cross the street and rely on their sense of hearing to be aware of their surroundings. Give them extra time and distance to cross the road in a safe manner. For more information be sure to read this article.
Make Eye Contact
A great way to allow a pedestrian to know that you’re aware of them is to make eye contact with them. Most times when a pedestrian makes eye contact with a driver it is to determine whether it is safe for them to cross the road or not.
Using eye contact is a quick and easy way to determine who will go first between the pedestrian and the driver. It is vital for preventing confusion between people on foot and people in vehicles and a great way to prevent serious pedestrian accidents.
Observe and Obey School Crossing Signs
One of the most common types of road signs in residential urban and suburban areas is a school crossing sign. This sign signifies that there is a school nearby and that students use that crossing as a way to get to and from school.
As soon as you see this sign signifying a school area or school crossing you need to slow your vehicle down. You also need to be on the lookout for pedestrians using the crossing and be prepared to stop. Students sometimes forget to look both ways before proceeding to cross the street and can create dangerous situations.
There is a reason why students and children are commonly involved in pedestrian accidents. It often involves children because of a lack of awareness, so the best thing to do as a driver when entering a school area is to slow down and drive in a careful manner.
Don’t Assume Things With Vehicle in Front of You
It is easy to make an assumption about the vehicle in front of you and the reasons that it is stopping or slowing down. An impatient driver might consider going around that vehicle to pass it. This is something that very often leads to accidents since you’re not able to see around the vehicle to determine if there is something in front of it.
They might be slowing down to let a pedestrian cross the street or stopping because a child ran out into the street to retrieve a ball. A good approach is to keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in front of it. That way you’ll have ample time to stop if the person in front of you comes to a halt.
Avoid Driving Distractions
Nowadays, everyone owns a mobile device or smartphone. It is more important than ever that drivers keep their eyes on the road considering the distractions that are available to them. It is an accident waiting to happen if you choose to use your phone or text friends while driving.
A good rule of thumb is to never use your phone or text anyone while you’re driving in suburban or urban areas where there are pedestrians. This is a great way to prevent pedestrian accidents.
Don’t Drink and Drive
Driving under the influence is another big cause of pedestrian accidents. Driving after drinking alcohol leads to a reduced amount of reaction time. It is also dangerous because pedestrians have no way of knowing if a driver is under the influence or not.
Drivers that choose to get behind the wheel are not only putting themselves in a dangerous situation, but also innocent people around them. Think twice before you get behind the wheel of a vehicle when under the influence.
Now You Know How To Avoid a Pedestrian Accident
One of the worst and most preventable types of accidents that occur with vehicles is the pedestrian accident. Sadly, they are often fatal. The good news is that there are steps you can and should take to avoid causing a pedestrian accident.
Be sure to slow down in school areas and areas that see a lot of foot traffic. Avoid driving while on your phone, and especially avoid driving under the influence. You should also stay patient with people crossing the street like the elderly or the blind.
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