Kimberly Brown | Sr. Director l LAGRANT COMMUNICATIONS
October 24, 2022
ELK GROVE, Calif. — October is best known for its Halloween festivities, but it is also National Pedestrian Safety Month, which ties in perfectly with the need for pedestrians and drivers to be extra careful and watch for increased foot traffic on the streets. This month, the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) and Caltrans are encouraging people to do their part to help reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities.
The streets are becoming more deadly for pedestrians, with an alarming increase in the number of people being struck and killed while walking. During the pandemic in 2020, 6,516 pedestrians were killed throughout the U.S., including 986 in California. The same year, pedestrian deaths accounted for 17 percent of all traffic fatalities and 2 percent of all people injured in traffic crashes.
According to a 2022 report by Smart Growth America, people of color, particularly Black and Native American pedestrians, are more likely to die while walking than any other race or ethnic group. Older adults and people walking in low-income neighborhoods were also killed at much higher rates than other populations in 2020 as with past years. Traditionally, these neighborhoods have fewer sidewalks and parks, as well as more roads without controlled access that can carry large volumes of local traffic at generally high speeds. These factors support the need for a heightened focus on road safety for residents who rely on walking or public transportation.
Safety is a two-way street. Drivers and pedestrians must share the road, share the responsibility and work together to demonstrate safe behaviors on the road, helping to protect themselves and those around them. OTS and Caltrans offer the following tips for pedestrians and drivers to keep each other safe, particularly as Halloween approaches:
Safety tips for pedestrians:
- Make yourself visible: wear bright colored clothes and carry a flashlight if you are walking at night.
- Avoid dangerous behaviors: always walk on the sidewalk (don’t cross mid-block), stay sober and make eye contact with drivers – don’t assume the driver can see you.
- Stay off your phone: talking and especially texting distracts you from paying attention to your surroundings.
- Look before you step: cross streets at marked crosswalks/intersections, obey traffic signals and watch for turning vehicles.
- To prevent stumbling or tripping, make sure that costumes don’t drag on the ground.
- Look left-right-left before crossing a street.
Safety tips for drivers:
- Don’t speed! Obey the speed limit, never use your phone, and always be cautious of your surroundings.
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
- Look out for pedestrians, especially in hard-to-see conditions such as at night or in bad weather.
- Pedestrians have the right of way at any crosswalk or intersection, so yield and be prepared to stop.
- Stop at the crosswalk stop line to give drivers in other lanes an opportunity to see and yield to pedestrians too.
- Be cautious when backing up – pedestrians, especially young children, can move into your path suddenly.
National Pedestrian Safety Month is an ideal time to shine a light on the importance of prioritizing safer behaviors on the road to protect our children, parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, and co-workers.
To learn more about ways to stay safe, visit www.gosafelyca.org.