Distracted driving is a threat to the vehicle drivers, vehicle passengers, other motorists on the road, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
When a pedestrian is hit by a car, the results are often catastrophic. The victim may suffer serious injuries, including injuries to the neck, head, shoulder or back. In the worst cases, the injuries may be fatal.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, there were approximately 6,000 pedestrian fatalities nationwide in 2016 – and about 5,400 in 2015. This is the steepest year-over-year increase since they began collecting data*.
Shockingly, many drivers are not refraining from distracted driving when they are in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic: shopping areas, parking lots, school zones, etc.
What can pedestrians do to keep safe when walking or running? Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Tips for walkers:
- Always look behind you while crossing streets, keeping an eye out for potentially distracted drivers who may turn without seeing you.
- Assume that drivers cannot see you. Make eye contact with nearby drivers before crossing the street.
- Avoid wearing headphones or looking down at your phone while crossing the street.
- Walk on sidewalks. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the shoulder of the road, facing oncoming traffic.
*It is worth nothing that pedestrian fatalities in California fell from 2015 to 2016. In 2015, there were 405 pedestrian deaths. In 2016, there were 359 pedestrian deaths.
Drivers continue to engage in distracted driving, putting other drivers and pedestrians at risk. The most effective thing a pedestrian can do while walking or running is to pay attention to his or her surroundings and be on the lookout for drivers who may be distracted.