Even in a car-heavy city like Atlanta, pedestrians are everywhere. And while traffic is down due to the pandemic, plenty of people are still out getting exercise, walking pets, or making their way to work. What can you do to stay safe, both as a driver and as a pedestrian?
How to keep pedestrians safe as a driver
In 2018, 6,283 pedestrians were killed in the U.S.—a 3 percent increase from the previous year and the highest number since 1990, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As drivers, lowering that number is our shared responsibility. Here’s what you can do when you’re behind the wheel:
- Never drive under the influence. According to the CDC, in 47 percent of crashes resulting in a pedestrian’s death, either the driver or the pedestrian was intoxicated. Drinking slows your reaction time, affects your perception, and limits your coordination.
- Slow down. Speed plays a part in both the chances of a pedestrian being hit by a car and the resulting severity of the injuries, according to the CDC.
- Always expect pedestrians. Pay special attention at crosswalks, intersections and school zones, or when you’re making a turn. When you’re backing up from your driveway or a parking space, be sure a pedestrian hasn’t entered your blind spot.
- Yield in crosswalks. It’s the law. Stop far enough back to help signal to other drivers that there’s a pedestrian present. Never pass a car stopped at a crosswalk.
How to stay safe as a pedestrian
Kids and elders are especially at risk for pedestrian death, but anyone can become a victim. Consider your route, the time of day, and what kind of traffic you might expect. Don’t be afraid to tack on a few extra minutes to your walk in order to avoid a particularly busy street, skip a road with no sidewalks, or make your way to a well-lit crosswalk. Here are some other ideas to help stay safe:
- Always use the sidewalk. Unfortunately, in Atlanta, this isn’t always an option. If you have to walk on the road, walk facing traffic.
- Keep your focus. This means putting your phone away and keeping the headphones off or turned low. It also means avoiding walking while intoxicated.
- Cross at intersections or crosswalks. Again, this isn’t always doable in Atlanta. But keep in mind that many pedestrian deaths occur at non-intersections, according to the CDC.
- Don’t assume drivers see you or are planning to stop. While it can be frustrating to stand and wait at the crosswalk while cars zip by, it’s safest to wait until you’re sure a driver has seen you and is slowing to a stop before you step into the road.
- Dress right. This means light-colored or bright clothing. At night, wear reflective gear and carry a flashlight.
It should be safe for anyone to enjoy our beautiful city without the risk of a fatal accident. We can all do our part by being cautious drivers, responsible pedestrians, and by helping to advocate for a more pedestrian- and bicycle-safe city.
Atlanta Personal Injury Attorneys
If you’ve been injured, don’t wait to get medical treatment or pursue a personal injury case. Make sure you receive the treatment you need now and then call an Atlanta car accident attorney. Contact the personal injury attorneys at Litner + Deganian for a free consultation.