- Do: cross at marked crosswalks and intersections. Drivers will be more prepared to stop for you if you are at a crosswalk or intersection. Jaywalking can surprise and confuse drivers, are they crossing or not crossing? The majority of pedestrian accidents occur away from intersections – 76% in fact. Drivers expect to see pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections, as a result, they often slow down and pay more attention. Accidents take place at intersections are also far less severe than those that occur on major roads, which have few if any intersections. Due to higher speed limits, around 70% of fatal pedestrian accidents on major roads.
- Don’t: walk on the road. Walk on the sidewalk whenever possible. Drivers expect pedestrians to be on sidewalks, if they don’t expect to see you, they very well might not.
- Do: check for cars turning before beginning to cross. Drivers that are making a turn are most likely too focused on trying to find the gap in incoming traffic in order to turn successfully, so when they get the chance to make that turn, they will do it quickly. Look over your shoulder to watch for cars making a turn.
- Don’t: cross before making sure that the drivers see you. Try to make eye contact with approaching drivers, including those making a turn. That will help ensure that you know that the driver sees you and the driver knows that you see him/her. Drivers too, will hopefully be looking to meet your gaze as confirmation that you intend to cross.
- Do: be especially cautious at night. A driver’s visibility is diminished – the headlights cannot follow the curves of the road. What they can see is limited to the angle and range of the beams. If you must walk on the road at night make sure you wear bright clothing to heighten your visibility. Wearing reflectors and carrying a flashlight is even better.
- Don’t: cross between two parked cars. Pedestrians are camouflaged between cars, it obstructs both the pedestrian and driver’s view. For pedestrians, they could be between two pick-up trucks, so they won’t be able to see clearly if a car is approaching. On the other hand, drivers won’t be able to see you since you are not at a crosswalk or intersection, so you crossing from between cars will come unexpectedly. Pedestrians are just not as visible between cars.
- Don’t: enter the road on a “don’t walk” indicator. There’s a reason for these indicators. When these indicators start flashing “DON’T WALK,” it means that there is little time left to safely cross the street before the light changes.
- Don’t: “dart out” or run into the street. This one may be pretty obvious, but believe it or not, these cases are way too common. Whether you are an adult or not, these types of accidents often occur because drivers are at a disadvantage when they aren’t expecting you. Pedestrians who run out into the street unexpectedly are often at fault and it puts strict limits on the compensation that the pedestrian is entitled to.
- Don’t: assume that a car will stop for you. Just because you have the right-of-way, it does not mean that drivers will stop for you. There are plenty of mean, inattentive, or inexperienced drivers out there…they may or may not see you.
- Don’t: walk behind a car that is reversing. Even though many drivers are looking at their rearview mirrors when in reverse, they probably aren’t looking over their shoulders and/or side view mirrors too. Larger vehicles do not necessarily have a clear view of what’s behind them. It is more likely for drivers in an SUV to strike pedestrians. Sometimes pedestrians are too short for drivers in bigger cars or their rear could be a lot closer to the pedestrian than they think. Either stop & wait for the car to fully finish reversing or wait to make eye contact with the driver if you really need to cross.
Read more information on tips and safety precautions in “The Essential Guide to Pedestrian Safety: Know What You’re Walking Into.” Order your free copy today!