December 16, 2021Pedestrian Safety

How pedestrians can maintain their safety when walking in car centric communities.

In recent years, over 6,000 pedestrians were killed in vehicle collisions annually. This is a 60% increase in the last 10 years. Many of these collisions are avoidable. What can pedestrians do to stay safe, and avoid being involved in a tragic incident like this? In this article, you will find four ways for pedestrians to maintain their safety when walking in car centric communities.

Follow Local Traffic Laws

It is important that pedestrians follow the traffic laws for their states. These include staying out of the roadway when possible, walking in the direction that has them facing oncoming traffic, and obeying the pedestrian control devices like walk/don’t walk signs, crosswalks, and traffic signals.

Keep Your Earbuds at Home

Most people out exercising like to wear headphones or earbuds while walking or jogging. While this is understandable, many of these devices have an unintended effect that pedestrians rarely consider; they block out ambient noise. The noise cancelling features of modern earbuds are so effective that a user will not hear any noise from the environment around them. This ambient noise could include engines revving, tires squealing, emergency vehicle sirens, or even someone nearby warning them about a hazard ahead. A safer alternative is wearing small speakers around your neck or shoulders that allow you to hear your music without compromising your abilities to hear ambient noise.

Assume You Are Not Seen

As a pedestrian, assume that you are invisible to vehicle operators. Most drivers, particularly at intersections, look for other vehicles in the roadway before pulling out. For example, as side street drivers are watching for a gap in traffic to pull out into, they often don’t see the pedestrian approaching. As a pedestrian, make sure that you make eye contact with an oncoming driver. Wait for them to wave you on or better yet, wait for them to go through the intersection and cross behind them.

Cross With Caution

If possible, alter your route to cross at signalized intersections. At uncontrolled intersections, vehicle operators are trying to pull out into traffic, or are turning through a gap in oncoming traffic. They are not usually looking at the crosswalks beside them and often don’t see a crossing pedestrian. If you feel that you must cross at a residential intersection, pay particular attention to all vehicles approaching and don’t hesitate to wait for crossing traffic to clear before entering the roadway.

At night, take extra precautions to increase your visibility to drivers. In a future article we will look at some nighttime visibility issues that some pedestrians fail to consider when going for their early morning jog.

At Kittelson LLC we can help in all types of pedestrian collisions. Don’t hesitate to call us, at (979) 693-5800 and let us help you with your case.

To see other Pedestrian Safety work from Kittelson, check out some of our published articles with NCHRP:

NCHRP Report 893 – Systemic Pedestrian Safety Analysis

NCHRP Report 841 – Development of Crash Modification Factors for Uncontrolled Pedestrian Crossing Treatments

NCHRP Report 948 – Guide for Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety at Alternative Intersections and Interchanges