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  5. Pedestrian Safety

Pedestrian Safety

Pedestrians can be children and adults - anyone who is walking near a road or crossing a street or parking lot. Pedestrians are injured frequently because they cross in an unsafe place or fail to watch for traffic.

Drivers are responsible to follow the law and use care to avoid hitting pedestrians, but in the end the person outside the vehicle is the one that is most seriously injured.

Being right doesn't keep you safe

Do not expect cars to stop for you.

  • They may not see you
  • They may be driving too fast
  • They may make an improper turn or be turning right on red

Watch out for vehicles

  • Walk facing traffic.
  • Cross only at corners or in areas that are marked. Be sure to look left-right-left to see if cars are coming before you step off the curb.
  • Make certain the driver sees you and stops. Try to make eye contact with the driver.
  • Be careful when walking along the street. Use sidewalks. Don’t step off the curb without looking for oncoming cars.
  • Make yourself visible, especially in bad weather and at night. Wear light-colored clothing, reflective strips or carry a flashlight so drivers can see you.
  • Avoid horseplay, pushing and shoving when you are near the street or on parking lots. You can stumble and fall into the path of an oncoming car.
  • Plan your trip so that you walk on streets with sidewalks if possible.
  • Plan ahead so that you don’t have to be in a rush.
  • Watch for signs that a car is leaving a parking space or the curb – sound of doors closing, engine starting, brake lights, exhaust smoke. Make sure the driver sees you.
  • Be predictable. Don’t suddenly change direction.
  • It is very dangerous to cross multi-lane, high-speed roads.
  • Alcohol and drugs can alter your ability to walk safely and carefully.

Driver responsibilities

  • You can encounter pedestrians anytime and anywhere – even in places where they are not supposed to be. Be aware.
  • Pedestrians can be very hard to see – especially in bad weather or at night. Slow down if you can't see clearly.
  • When approaching a corner or entering a crosswalk area, drive slowly. Be prepared to stop. Allow space so other drivers can see the pedestrian in time to stop.
  • On parking lots, be particularly aware of people walking between cars. Children do not always stay with parents. Always double-check before backing out of a parking space.
  • At intersections, when waiting for traffic to clear so you can turn, be aware that pedestrians may have entered the crossing area. Check again before beginning your turn.
  • Be especially aware when driving around schools and play areas.
  • Always use extra care when a school bus is near.