Pedestrian Safety Tips: On Foot & Behind the Wheel
Published: June 10, 2016
Updated: August 7, 2019
Courtesy of The Hartford
By Michael Kelly
It’s not just drivers who are distracted. Even pedestrians may fail to pay attention when outdoors, wandering into dangerous areas such as busy streets or active parking lots. In fact, distracted walking is becoming more common than ever. A nationwide study by Ohio State University found that the number of pedestrians treated for injuries related to phone use while walking doubled between 2005 and 2013.
There are also other pedestrian-related factors that have contributed to the rise in casualties. One of the most significant is an overall rise in the number of people walking. Many people are making the effort to walk more, for both environmental and health reasons. (As evidence of this, pedometers, such as the Fitbit, have soared in popularity in recent years.) With more people walking outdoors, there is an increased likelihood for pedestrian accidents.
Engineering Solutions for Pedestrian Safety
Even though individuals are expected to behave safely of their own accord, the planning of roadways, sidewalks and traffic lights has long been an important factor in keeping both drivers and pedestrians safe and preventing traffic or congestion. In recent years, there have been major developments to help advance this effort, such as dedicated lanes for buses and cyclists and audible traffic cues for people with poor eyesight.
And some countries are employing sophisticated and innovative solutions to help protect pedestrians. Germany, for example, has installed inground traffic lights so that pedestrians who are looking down at their phones will still be able to see the traffic signals.
As advances in technology lead to breakthrough safety solutions, they also introduce new distractions for both drivers and pedestrians. Fortunately, there are still steps we can take to help keep our loved ones safe. We can teach our children and grandchildren to look before crossing and to put down their phones when walking and driving. This in part can help decrease any insurance premiums after an incident. Most importantly though, we can be role models for safe behavior to others. By accepting this responsibility, we can help prevent ourselves and our loved ones from becoming another crash statistic.