Regardless of your preferred mode of transportation, having to walk occasionally, even if it is only from a parking lot to the front door of a building and back again, is a reality of life. Everyone is a pedestrian from time to time, which means that everyone has an equal responsibility to help prevent motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians.
A total of 6,283 pedestrians died in 2018 due to traffic crashes across the United States. This was an increase from 2017, when a pedestrian death occurred every 88 minutes on average. Fortunately, there are things you can do as both a pedestrian and a driver to reduce the risks of accidents and increase safety.
Accident prevention as a driver
You should always be alert to the possibility of pedestrians around your vehicle. Exercise extra caution when backing out of a parking space or a driveway and at stoplights where people may be crossing the street. Be aware of your vehicle blind spots at the point where your side windows and windshield meet that may obscure people walking.
Give yourself plentiful travel time so that you do not speed through a pedestrian area. Avoid intoxicating substances and dangerous distractions such as cell phones. If possible, try to adjust your route to avoid school zones and other areas where people frequently walk. Avoid passing school buses and vehicles that have stopped to allow pedestrians to cross.
Accident prevention as a pedestrian
Distractions such as cell phones and substances such as alcohol can impair your function even as a pedestrian. Avoid using anything that may impair your walking ability. Drivers expect to see pedestrians in crosswalks and sidewalks, so use these whenever possible. When they are not available, cross at a well-lit intersection and walk along the far side of the road facing traffic.
One of the most effective ways to avoid accidents as a pedestrian is to make sure the driver sees you. You can do this by making eye contact with an approaching driver before crossing. It helps to wear reflective material and carry a flashlight at night and wear bright clothing during the day.