Pedestrian accidents affect thousands of lives every year. Even if you or someone you love isn't involved in a collision, it's likely that you know someone who was hurt (or who came close to being hurt) by a motorist on a street or road. On average, a crash-related fatal pedestrian accident occurred approximately every 96 minutes in 2015, according to the CDC. Most pedestrian accidents are preventable, and many people wish we could reduce or eliminate the risk in our cities and suburban areas.
What are some techniques for avoiding an accident? What are the best ways to avoid being struck as a pedestrian?
1. Know the road rules
The first thing to do is to make sure you know the rules of the road. You should know when it's safe to cross and when you need to yield to drivers. In most cases, drivers who are paying attention will yield to pedestrians or slow when they see them up ahead, but you don't want to do anything that could put you in harm's way if the driver doesn't see you or decides not to stop.
2. Get visible
The next step is to make yourself as visible as possible. If you can, wear reflective or brightly colored clothing if you expect to encounter traffic. These items help you stand out.
If you'll be out at night, wear a flashing LED light or carry a flashlight. You will also want to wear light-colored clothing at night, because it's easier to see than if you wear black. Think about what you're wearing, because the last thing you want to do as a pedestrian is to camouflage yourself.
3. Travel in groups
Finally, one of the best things you can do is to travel in a group. Groups are more visible and more audible. This means that there is a higher likelihood of a driver seeing your group instead of hitting it. When you travel with others, it's a good idea to have everyone look both ways, listen for traffic and avoid getting distracted.
These are a few things you can do to make yourself more visible and to avoid getting into a pedestrian accident. What can drivers do to help, though?
Drivers need to pay attention, focus on the road and remember that pedestrians often have the right of way. Even if a pedestrian is not where he or she should be, failing to stop could result in life-threatening injuries. Around school zones and in residential areas, drivers should be prepared for the inevitability of people on or around the roads.