October brings with it shorter daytime hours and therefore more darkness, and most pedestrian injuries and fatalities happen when it is dark. October also brings with it Pedestrian Safety Month so here are some things to remember and consider; some of which just may save a life.
One of the most common confusions regarding pedestrian safety is related to where pedestrians should cross the road and who is responsible to stop where. Pedestrians will definitely want to be cautious because they usually are not wearing some form of 'air bag'.
That being said, drivers of vehicles have responsibilities as well. For example, did you know every intersection of public roadways is a crosswalk? Whether the painted crosswalk lines exist or not is no excuse to not follow the rules of the road. The main image shown for this article is at the intersection of Antelope Road and Pacific Avenue in White City. And although no painted crosswalk is there, vehicles still need to yield to pedestrians crossing the roadway at this intersection.
While we are on the topic of pedestrian safety, our friends at the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) have put together a great website where you can find information, videos, flyers and more. Check it out to download some additional information to share with your children or others! A recent ODOT news release also included the following information:
Tips for Drivers
- Stay alert and eliminate distractions such as cell phones so you can focus on driving.
- Always have an eye out for pedestrians, especially during dark hours or times of low visibility such as when it is raining. Remember, road conditions can impact your stopping ability, so be prepared.
- Slow down when you are entering a popular pedestrian area and in rainy weather and low-light areas.
- Be prepared to stop when approaching crosswalks. And never pass a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk.
- Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Being impaired affects your judgement and reaction time.
Tips for Pedestrians
- Stay alert and ditch the distractions: Keep your eyes and ears open and ditch the distractions like texting, talking on the cell phone, or listening to headphones.
- Cross with caution and cross at corners: Don’t assume the coast is clear just because you’re using the crosswalk and the WALK sign is on. Continue to watch for traffic as you cross the street---especially for turning vehicles.
- Be clear to drivers: If you wish to cross the street, be sure to establish eye contact with drivers. If you’re not sure the driver sees you, let the vehicle go first.
- Be visible: Do what you can to be seen. If you’re wearing dark clothing, drivers may not see you. Wear bright clothing (even white clothing may not be visible at night). Add reflective material or a blinking light to your jacket or backpack or carry a flashlight at night. Be extra careful when walking during dusk or early in the morning.
- Use sidewalks when you can. If there’s no sidewalk walk facing traffic.
- Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways or backing up in parking lots.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking. They impair your abilities and judgement.
So remember, as a pedestrian, LOOK out BEFORE you step out! And if you are a driver, keep on the lookout for pedestrians, especially at night, and around schools, parks and neighborhoods where there usually are more people walking.
Drive safely and walk safely!