With the warm summer weather and school out in Georgia, your family may be spending much of their free time outdoors. Whether you are walking around the Atlanta area on a family weekend outing or your children are out walking to the park or a friend’s house, you want to feel like your family is safe while they are walking outdoors. This is a justifiable concern. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4,735 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents and 156,000 were treated for nonfatal injuries in emergency rooms in 2013. So, you are right in wanting to do what you can to ensure that your children and any other family members remain safe as pedestrians and avoid being involved in a crash.
Pedestrian Safety Rules You Should Follow
If you are a parent, you have the added incentive of needing to be a good role model for your children. You should follow these safety practices:
- Use the sidewalk. If there is a sidewalk, you should use it instead of walking in the lane or the median between lanes. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the shoulder of the road facing traffic, so you can make eye contact with drivers—a practice that may help keep you safe.
- Use crosswalks. You should always cross roads in the crosswalks when the signal permits it. Crossing in the middle of the street can be extremely dangerous.
- Wait for the signal. Even if it appears that the road is clear, you should always wait for the signal that it is safe to cross the street. Pedestrians should still look in both directions before proceeding in case a motorist is not obeying the traffic signals.
- Keep the noise down. Many people walk with ear buds on so that they can listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks. If you are one of these people, you should turn your volume down to hear what’s going on around you. The best practice would be to not listen to anything at all.
- Stay in groups. When possible, stay in a group when walking. A group of people is much more visible than a single walker.
- Stay visible. Passengers are difficult for motorists to see in good weather conditions. If possible, make eye contact with a driver before crossing in front of him to be sure he sees you. Wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight if you are walking or running at night. Try to stay in well-lit areas for your safety.
- Avoid distractions. Just like distracted driving is dangerous, so is distracted walking. You should put down your cell phone because it can take your eyes and mind off the road and traffic—something you cannot afford to do.
Special Safety Tips for Children
Children are at special risk of being hit as pedestrians. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 207 of the pedestrians killed in 2014 were children. Of these, 98 percent were killed in single vehicle crashes and 79 percent were hit by the front of the vehicle. No one wants their child to become a statistic. Being a good role model is a fantastic way to teach your children how to stay safe as a pedestrian. Other tips you should follow include:
- Teach your children at a young age to look left, then right, then left again before crossing a street.
- Have your children stay on a sidewalk or path and cross the street at a corner, using a crosswalk and traffic signals when possible.
- Teach your children to maintain eye contact with drivers before crossing a road. This is especially important for children who are less visible than adult pedestrians.
- Warn your children about the dangers of cars turning and backing up and advise them to be especially alert in these situations.
- Teach your children to never run out or dart into the street.
- Teach your children to turn down the volume of his electronic device and not use it at all while crossing the street. Children should also learn that they should find a safe area and stop walking before using their cell phone.
Even if the members of your family are safe pedestrians, a motorist could still engage in unsafe driving practices and injure any pedestrians in the area. The car accident attorneys at Brauns Law are here to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Call us toll free at 877-401-6689 to schedule a free consultation.