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:
- Plan ahead to avoid unplanned delays.
- Know and follow traffic laws.
- Be aware of their surroundings.
- Pay attention to weather and road conditions and drive accordingly.
- Focus on the task at hand: walking, rolling, biking or driving.
- Drive, walk, bike or roll sober. Alcohol and drugs impair your abilities and judgment.
- Look for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists when you look for oncoming vehicles and other traffic. Be especially mindful in parking lots, at stop signs, when backing up, or parking.
- Be extra cautious when driving in hard-to-see conditions or in places where you normally see people crossing such as parks, schools, shopping areas and busy intersections.
- Slow down and be prepared to stop when entering a crosswalk.
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and stop well back from the crosswalk to give other vehicles an opportunity to see crossing pedestrians.
- Follow the speed limit, especially around people walking and in school zones and in neighborhoods where children are present.
- Check all crosswalks before turning to see if people are trying to cross the road and to look for oncoming cars.
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 -- especially for turning vehicles.
- Be clear to drivers: If you wish to cross, be sure to make eye contact with drivers. If you’re not sure the driver sees you, let the vehicle go first.
- Be visible: 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 at dawn or dusk.
- Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways or backing up in parking lots.
- Face oncoming traffic and use sidewalks when they are available. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
- Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections, where people driving expect pedestrians. Look for cars in all directions, including those turning. If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, find a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to safely cross and continue watching for traffic as you cross.
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!