PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association would like to share with residents a series of safety tips as part of National Pedestrian Safety Month.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 6,205 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in 2019. The goal of National Pedestrian Safety Month, which runs through the month of October, is to increase awareness around pedestrian safety and remind drivers to watch for pedestrians each time they are behind the wheel.
Each week throughout the month of October, the NHTSA will focus on different themes to help both pedestrians and motorists stay safe. The themes include:
Everyone Is a Pedestrian
The NHTSA embraces walking as a healthy form of transportation. At some point in the day, everyone is a pedestrian. Whether it’s walking to your car, walking to the office, or walking for exercise, everyone deserves to get to their destination safely.
To do this, drivers must do the following:
- Look for pedestrians. Particularly children and teens, who can be less predictable and take more risks around vehicular traffic. Be especially careful around schools, residential neighborhoods, and near parks and playgrounds.
- Drive with care. Buckle up, obey speed limits, focus on the driving task, and drive sober. Lives depend on it.
Slower speeds save lives. The chances of a pedestrian surviving a crash rapidly decrease when the vehicle speed is above 30 miles per hour. Drivers must follow speed limits – they aren’t suggestions, they are designed to keep all road users safe.
Most vehicles on the roads include safety technologies like airbags and seatbelts designed to keep occupants safe. However, newer vehicles also include technology that keeps other vulnerable road users, like pedestrians, safe.
Technologies such as pedestrian automatic emergency braking, rear backup cameras, and better headlights for identifying pedestrians at night are just some of the technologies keeping pedestrians and others outside the vehicle safe. Learn more about Driver Assistance Technologies.
Roadways designed to safely accommodate road users provide a solid foundation for use of emerging vehicle technologies and actively encourage safe behaviors among drivers and other road users. Learn more about safe roads from the Federal Highway Administration.
“We have already seen far too many pedestrian fatalities on our roadways throughout the state of Rhode Island in 2021, and we will continue to do everything we can to make sure everyone knows the rules of the road and how to best keep themselves safe as well as those around them,” RIPCA Executive Director Sid Wordell said. “National Pedestrian Safety Month is a perfect time to review the rules of the road, be extra cautious of pedestrians while driving, and make sure you review appropriate safety tips with young children.”
Additional pedestrian safety tips from the NHTSA include:
- Be predictable. Follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
- Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available.
- If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
- Keep alert at all times; don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
- 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.
- Be visible at all times. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.
- Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways, or backing up in parking lots.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking; they impair your abilities and your judgment.
For more information on pedestrian safety from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, click here.