At some point in their lives, most of our Illinois residents have likely walked to and from point A to point B. When an individual travels on foot, they are choosing to walk as their mode of transportation and, by definition, they are a pedestrian. According to a recent report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrian fatalities have increased in recent years.
The report estimated that nearly 76,000 pedestrians were injured and over 4,700 lost their lives in 2012. Furthermore, the NHTSA estimated that every seven minutes a person traveling on foot is injured in a traffic crash of some kind, and at least one pedestrian is killed every couple of hours. At a national level, about 14 percent of all traffic fatalities involve a pedestrian. In fact, Illinois pedestrian fatalities are the same as the national level of 14 percent.
In an effort to minimize injuries that pedestrians suffer, the NHTSA has offered both drivers and pedestrians safety tips. For people traveling on foot, it is essential to walk on designated sidewalks. When a sidewalk is not available, it is best to walk as far as possible from traffic and walk in the direction facing traffic.
Sometimes a person on foot may be tempted to cross a street where there is no designated pedestrian crosswalk; this is dangerous since drivers are not expecting a pedestrian. Thus, to be safe, it is important to be predictable and cross at crosswalks where drivers expect to see a pedestrian. At night time, wearing reflective clothing will make a pedestrian more visible to drivers. Finally, distracted walking is as dangerous as distract driving, so being is alert is important.
For car drivers, the best way to prevent a car accident with pedestrians is to look out for individuals who may be traveling on foot. When a car driver approaches a crosswalk, it is important to slow down and stop when necessary to let a pedestrian cross. Obeying speeding limits is important. Being an attentive driver can make a difference.
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Everyone Is A Pedestrian," Accessed April 20, 2015