Daylight savings time will be ending in early November, and coinciding with its end, the Street Smart program will begin another ad push and enforcement period. Because night falls quicker in winter, pedestrians can be harder to see for drivers. This can lead to devastating pedestrian accidents.
Tips to Help Pedestrians & Drivers Stay Safe
Here is a list of 8 safety tips to help you avoid hitting a pedestrian or being hit by a car while walking.
- Put down your phone! Did you know that 330,000 injuries occur in the United States every year due to texting while driving? It’s true, according to the National Safety Council. Texting while driving is a danger both to you and to pedestrians. The average driver takes his or her eyes away from the road for five seconds when using their cell phone. That’s enough time to cross a football field at 55 mph. Eyes on the road and hands on the wheel!
- Obey traffic signals and stop for pedestrians at crosswalks.
- Don’t speed! The faster you are going, the less time you have to react when a pedestrian crosses your path. Additionally, even just an increase of 5 mph in your speed can lead to much more severe injuries, or even death, for a struck pedestrian. Keep your speed down, especially in areas where people walk!
- Pay attention when turning at an intersection! Pedestrians have the right of way at crosswalks, and it can sometimes be difficult to see them when turning.
- We said it for the drivers, but it applies to you, too – put down your phone! Distracted walking, especially in a place as dense and pedestrian-friendly as D.C., can lead to you inadvertently walking into traffic or not looking both ways before crossing. Always be aware of the vehicles around you!
- Don’t cross the street unless you’re at a designated crosswalk. Additionally, don’t cross unless you have a walk signal. Even if there don’t appear to be cars coming, you don’t want to be caught in the crosswalk if one does. Those lights are there to protect you – let them do their job!
- If you are walking at night, wear bright clothes. Especially during the winter, when night comes early, wearing highly-visible clothing can be the difference between life and death.
- Be wary of buses and trucks, especially when they are reversing! These vehicles have large blind spots and the driver may not see you nearby.