It is no secret that pedestrians are one of the groups most at risk on the road. Compared to steel-built vehicles, they are extremely vulnerable to suffering severe or fatal injuries in even a minor accident.
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) established this October as the first National Pedestrian Safety Month. And even though October has come and gone, it is still critical to highlight the importance of pedestrian safety. After all, the focus on safety should continue long after October ends.
So, how can pedestrians stay aware – and safe?
All road users have a duty to each other to make North Carolina roads safer. And even though it is up to both drivers and pedestrians alike to be defensive and assure safety, pedestrians cannot always rely on drivers to be aware of them.
Therefore, pedestrians should take action to keep themselves safe. For example, pedestrians should:
- Not assume drivers see them: Visibility is a significant issue in many pedestrian accidents. Research into motorcycle accidents indicates that drivers automatically look for other vehicles – not smaller road users such as motorcyclists or pedestrians. Even if they wear bright clothing, like runners and bicyclists often do, drivers often do not see them.
- Avoid all distractions: It might surprise many people that distracted walking is becoming a large risk on the road as well as distracted driving. Texting, eating or even listening to music can distract pedestrians from their surroundings and oncoming vehicles.
- Follow the rules: There are traffic laws and crosswalks in place for a reason. They are meant to help pedestrians stay safe. Pedestrians should still watch out for reckless drivers disregarding the rules, but they should also make sure they adhere to the rules themselves.
Even with several campaigns in North Carolina and across the country to reduce accidents as well as the number of negligent drivers, the road still involves considerable risks for pedestrians both during October and throughout the year. However, if pedestrians take steps to stay aware and vigilant, they can avoid such risks.