In this day of excessive and inappropriate cellphone usage by both drivers and pedestrians, you face a distinct risk of injury every time you walk across a Virginia street. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2017, the last year for which statistics are available. 5,977 pedestrians died nationwide in a traffic accident. This translates to one death every 88 minutes.
It goes without saying that as a pedestrian, you stand far more chance of receiving a catastrophic injury, such as a traumatic brain injury, than does the driver of any vehicle that accidentally hits you. To make yourself safer when walking, the NHTSA recommends that you do the following:
- Never assume that any driver sees you.
- Never distract yourself by using a cellphone or other electronic device while walking.
- Always cross streets in a crosswalk if one exists.
- Always look both ways before crossing a street.
- Always make yourself as visible as possible by wearing bright-colored clothing during daylight hours and reflective clothing at night.
- Always be alert for cars backing out of driveways or exiting parking lots.
When you drive, remember that pedestrians have no protection against your vehicle if you hit them. Even a low-speed accident can seriously injure a pedestrian or even kill him or her. Consequently, follow the following safe driving practices:
- Never use your cellphone or another electronic device while driving.
- Never drive after drinking or taking drugs, including prescription drugs.
- Always remain alert for pedestrians.
- Always slow down at intersections and crosswalks, even when you have a green traffic light.
- Always adhere to speed limits, particularly in school zones.
This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.