As a Frequent Pedestrian, What Can I do to Avoid Being Hit by a Car?

Although the driver carries most of the responsibility of avoiding pedestrian accidents, there are many ways that pedestrians can significantly lower the risk of being hit by a car:

Pay Attention

The most important safety tip is also the simplest.  You can significantly reduce your chances of being in a collision with a motor vehicle by obeying traffic rules and being aware of dangers posed by cars in your vicinity.

A recent report from the Federal Bureau of Transportation Safety concluded that the pedestrian was solely at fault in 43% of pedestrian-motor vehicle collisions and 58% of these crashes occurred while the pedestrian was crossing the street. Pay close attention to cars in your vicinity. Make eye contact with drivers if possible.

Obey Traffic Laws

Although most laws have been taught since childhood, it is still important to remember the basics. Jaywalking, avoiding crosswalks, and ignoring traffic laws can all greatly increase your risk of being hit by a car. Obey all crossing signs and crosswalks.    

Use sidewalks and crosswalks when available 

Although not always present, sidewalks and crosswalks are the best option for a pedestrian if they are available.  If a sidewalk is not available to you, walk on and along the left side of a road.  By facing traffic, both the driver and the pedestrian have a better chance of seeing one another and preventing collision.  

When using a crosswalk, the pedestrian has the right of way. However, with emphasis on crosswalk usage, pedestrians must not suddenly move into the path of a closely approaching vehicle that does not have sufficient time to yield.   

Take extra care at night and at dusk

Walking at night increases your chances of death or injury.  Drivers cannot avoid what they can’t see so when walking at night, wear retro-reflective outdoor clothing, shoes, or lights to make yourself more visible.  Avoid wearing dark clothing.  Most importantly, don’t assume that drivers can see you.  Always walk on the left hand side of the road or on the sidewalk.  This way, motorists can see you and will not be approaching you from behind. 

Provide proper supervision and training for children 

Young children up to age 9 often lack the judgment and experience to make good choices when dealing with traffic. Their smaller stature also makes them harder for motorists to see. Adults need to take special care to teach children to behave safely when they are around automobile traffic. Motorists are also responsible for child pedestrian safety. The highest percentage of pedestrian accidents occurs at the end of the school day. Therefore, be aware and responsible for those around you.