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Reminders on pedestrian safety as days get darker

October 12, 2021 – FYI

Almost everyone is a pedestrian at some point. Whether it’s walking to your car, walking to work, or walking for exercise, everyone deserves to get to their destination safely. To ensure this happens, here are some tips for pedestrians and drivers.

Drivers must:

  • Look for pedestrians, particularly children and teens who can be less predictable and move more slowly. Be especially careful around schools, residential neighborhoods, and near parks & playgrounds.
  • Drive with care. Buckle up, obey speed limits, put the phone away, focus on the driving task, and drive sober. Lives depend on it. Other common distractions while driving include eating, talking to your passengers, or singing.
  • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and stop well back from the crosswalk to give other vehicles an opportunity to see the crossing pedestrians so they can stop too.
  • Expect that pedestrians may be present, even outside of sidewalks, shoulders, or crosswalks.
  • Follow speed limits – they aren’t suggestions and are designed to keep all road users safe.

As a pedestrian:

  • Be visible at all times. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.
  • Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
  • Whenever possible, cross streets at crosswalks or intersections, where drivers expect pedestrians. Look for cars in all directions, including those turning left or right. If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross safely; continue watching for traffic as you cross.
  • Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach to make sure you are seen.

October is Pedestrian Safety Month, but follow this guidance throughout the year, especially during darker months. Crashes with pedestrians are avoidable. The majority of fatal crashes occur at night, and many of them occur outside of intersections. Please drive safely, watch for pedestrians, and be aware of all who share the road.