Every day in our state, thousands of drivers go about their daily commutes and errands without issue, but unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents are prone to happen. In some troubling news, crashes involving pedestrians walking along the road or sidewalk are on the rise in the past two years.
In early 2022, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) announced a safety initiative to encourage awareness for pedestrians. This followed a record-setting year for pedestrian fatalities in Alabama.
Steps to take to stay safe
There are a few key tips that the ALEA suggests that people use to stay safe when walking nearby a road or highway. By using these simple steps, you can increase your chances of avoiding a pedestrian accident and becoming seriously injured.
#1 Stay on the sidewalk where possible
One of the best ways to protect yourself is to stay off the street and keep to the sidewalk. If you are in a situation where you are forced to walk in the margin of the road, then you can increase your safety by taking the margin facing towards oncoming traffic. This will allow you to see any approaching vehicles on your side of the road.
If you have had any alcohol, you should be especially careful and avoid walking on a road as much as possible.
#2 Be careful when walking at night or in poor visibility weather
Walking in poor visibility can raise the danger for pedestrians significantly, but you can take steps to improve your visibility by wearing reflective, high visibility clothing. You can also carry a flashlight or use your smartphone to create light to illuminate yourself.
#3 Use Appropriate Street Crossings
Crossing the street will inherently put you in harms way, especially if you are not crossing at a crosswalk or an intersection. If you need to cross the street, it is always best to do so where drivers will expect you to, and to ensure that you are clearly visible as you begin to cross the street.
Using these tips is just the beginning
By using these steps above, pedestrians can better protect themselves from being hurt by a vehicle on the road. However, drivers still need to remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings when they are operating a vehicle. Taking reasonable precautions such as driving the speed limit, stopping for pedestrians, and approaching crosswalks cautiously are all things that drivers should practice to promote safety for pedestrians.
Recent reporting has shown that despite the rollout of this campaign, pedestrian fatalities remain high and a significant threat to Alabamians. The rise by nearly 25% in fatalities in 2021 is alarming and warrants an increase in pedestrian awareness. With these figures trending higher, officers are continuing to encourage people to be careful when walking near a road.