Everyone has different preferences when it comes to transportation, but there’s one that all road users share—everyone is a pedestrian. Unfortunately, pedestrians are one of the few groups of road users to experience an increase in fatalities in the United States.
In New Canaan, neither pedestrians nor drivers obey laws and signals consistently and many often use cell phones while walking or driving. In one study, only 60% of pedestrians said they expected drivers to stop when they were in crosswalks, even though they have the right-of-way.
As a pedestrian, you are at a major disadvantage when crossing streets, intersections and standing on corners. You are not always visible to drivers. Here are some tips that can keep you safe.
WATCH YOUR WALK WAYS
Walk on sidewalks and in crosswalks whenever possible. It is important to pay attention to walk signals and keep a safe distance when standing on street corners.
KNOW YOUR NO-ZONES
Be careful of the blind spots, or “No-Zones”, around cars, trucks, and buses when walking near or around them. Always assume the driver does not know that you are there.
Use caution when crossing intersections and streets. You may think vehicles will stop for you, but they may not see you or even be able to stop. Remember, trucks, cars, motorcycles and bicyclists, all have different stopping capabilities.
MAKE YOURSELF VISIBLE
Wear bright or reflective clothing, especially when walking at night. Dressing to be seen will make it safer for you and drivers. Carry a flashlight at night.
- Avoid walking in the dark and during bad weather such as snow, ice, rain or fog.
- Be predictable. Follow the rules of the road, cross at crosswalks or intersections, and obey signs and signals.
- Cross only at street corners, preferably those with a traffic light and within marked crosswalks.
- Don’t text or talk on your cell phone when walking.
- Look left, right, and left again before crossing the street.
- Make eye contact with drivers as they approach. Never assume a driver sees you.
- Pay attention to “Walk/Don’t Walk” signals.
- Realize that some roads are not ideal for pedestrians. Roads with blind curves and high speed limits may not be best.
- Walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible if there is no sidewalk.
- Wear bright clothing during the day and reflective materials (or use a flashlight) at night.
- Be cautious when backing up – pedestrians, especially young children, can move across your path.
- Look out for pedestrians, especially in hard-to-see conditions such as at night or in bad weather.
- Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or entering a crosswalk.
- Stop at the crosswalk stop line to give drivers in other lanes an opportunity to see and yield to the pedestrians.
- Conduct a walkability checklist of your favorite walking routes in your neighborhood. See www.nhtsa. gov/Driving+Safety/Pedestrians/ Walkability+Checklist.
- Teach young children right-of-way rules and safe pedestrian behaviors.
- Visit NHTSA’s Parents Central for information for young children. See www.safercar.gov/parents/ walking.htm
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