Pedestrian safety is essential for both drivers and pedestrians. Drivers must stop engaging in activities like speeding, driving while intoxicated, and distracted driving in order to increase safety. After 6 o’clock, pedestrians should take extra precautions, avoid walking while intoxicated, and cross at crossings.
The U.S. Department of Transportation declared October 2020 to be “National Pedestrian Safety Month” on September 29, 2020, to draw attention to this important matter of public safety. The month of October was selected because it has traditionally been the most hazardous for pedestrians.
Good news about pedestrian safety in Michigan
In Michigan, there were fewer car accidents involving pedestrians in 2021 than there were in 2012, which was 10 years earlier. Similar to this, fewer pedestrian safety were hurt or killed in car accidents in Michigan in 2021 than in 2012.
- In 2021, there were 1,790 pedestrian-involved car accidents in Michigan, down 21.5% from 2,281 in 2012.
- There were 1,891 pedestrians involved in car crashes in Michigan in 2021, a 21.1% drop from 2,397 in 2012.
- In 2021, there were 1,453 pedestrian safety injury in Michigan auto accidents, which was 25.9% lower than 1,962 in 2012.
Bad news about pedestrian safety in Michigan
Pedestrian deaths in Michigan hit a 10-year high in 2021 at 183 lives lost, up 37.5% from 133 in 2012.
Pedestrian safety in the U.S.
In the ten years since 2011, no year had seen as many pedestrian deaths as the 6,516 that occurred in the U.S. in 2020.
Significantly, despite the number of pedestrian fatalities increased, the number of pedestrians wounded in car accidents in the United States fell by 28% in 2020, from 75,650 to 54,769.
Does daylight savings time cause car accidents?
According to research, fatal car accidents rise by 6% in the spring at the start of daylight saving time, when people move their clocks ahead by an hour and lose an hour of sleep. There is no evidence that the termination of Daylight Saving Time in the fall has an impact on auto accidents.
On Sunday, November 6, 2022, at 2:00 am, daylight savings time will come to an end, and everyone will turn their clocks back one hour. People “fall back” and get an hour more of sleep.
Pedestrian safety for drivers
Drivers should follow these safety tips to keep pedestrians safe:
- Be vigilant about watching for people walking
- No distractions – no texting or talking on the phone while you are driving
- No drinking and driving
- Stop before entering the crosswalk if you and the traffic traveling in your direction has a “steady yellow indication” or a “steady red indication” (MCL 257.612(1)(b) and (c))
- Yield for people who are lawfully within the crosswalk because they have the right of way (MCL 257.612(1)(a), (c)(ii), and (d))
- Make sure you slow down – enough so that you can stop quickly if necessary – as you enter or turn through a crosswalk
- Stop far enough back from a crosswalk so that other drivers can see if and when people are crossing
- Do not pass cars, trucks, motorcycles that have stopped at a crosswalk because they may have stopped to allow a person to cross the street
- Be extra cautious when the driving conditions are less than optimal for seeing people walking, such as at nighttime or dusk or when it is raining or snowing
- Be extra cautious and aware in areas where children are likely to be, such as school zones and in residential neighborhoods
- No speeding or aggressive driving
- Do not drive when you are tired, sleepy or drowsy
- Watch for people when you are backing up
Yes, distracted walking does exist, and if you’ve ever seen someone strolling along the street while gazing down at their phone, you’ve probably witnessed it. Many of the injuries and fatalities brought on by pedestrian-involved car incidents are at least partially attributable to distracted walking. According to the National Safety Council, distracted walking occurrences are on the rise.
Pedestrian safety tips for people traveling by foot
Here are some pedestrian safety tips for those who are traveling by foot can follow to keep themselves safe:
- Cross at intersections and don’t jaywalk: Between 2012 and 2021, 24% to 40% of all pedestrian fatalities involved people “crossing not at an intersection”
- Be careful between 6 pm and 7 pm: From 2017 and 2021, this time of day had the most motor vehicle accidents involving people traveling on foot
- Be careful on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
- No distractions – no distracted walking
- Wear bright or reflective clothing to make sure you can easily be seen
- Be extra alert at night
- Do not assume drivers can see you
- Use a flashlight if you are walking at night
- Walk on sidewalks – not in the road – whenever sidewalks are provided (MCL 257.655(1))
- Walk on the side of the road facing the traffic if you must walk in the road because sidewalks are not provided (MCL 257.655(1))
- Obey traffic signals
- Always make eye contact with drivers before entering the street
- Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways, or backing up in parking lots
The simple steps you can all take as pedestrians to reduce your risk while out walking are detailed below.
Pay attention to your surroundings
Many aspects of road safety are simple common sense, but occasionally common sense takes a backseat to other considerations. Keep your wits about you and avoid getting distracted when you’re near a road.
While walking, a lot of individuals use their mobile devices, which can drastically divert your focus from the road. Your focus can be diverted from the road even just by gazing at other individuals.
Tennis and other ball games should be reserved for athletic fields. Even if there is little traffic, you should never play them while driving.
Simple steps to take
Although you can’t be responsible for the way people drive, you can take a number of steps to make yourself safer as a pedestrian:
- stop, look and listen
- don’t try to cross the road between parked cars
- if possible, cross at a pedestrian crossing or traffic lights
- never cross at a bend
- if there is a footpath, use it
- if there is no footpath, walk/ run/ jog on the right hand side of the road, facing oncoming traffic and keep as close as possible to the side of the road
- wear fluorescent clothing during the day and reflective clothing at night
Use the crossings
Zebra crossings, traffic islands, footbridges, subways, and traffic lights are among the safer places to cross the street. You should always make sure that the traffic has stopped before utilizing any form of crossing. Never cross over the zebra stripes or in between the studs. It can be unsafe to cross at the side of the crossing or on the zigzag lines. On zebra, pelican, toucan, or puffin crossings, loitering is prohibited.
Pedestrians who are intoxicated pose a risk to both themselves and other drivers. Alcohol influences your judgment and decision-making, decreases reaction times, and encourages risk-taking. If you’ve had a few too many, take a taxi, the bus, or request a ride from a designated driver instead of attempting to walk.
Some medicines have the ability to alter the central nervous system and/or result in hallucinations. The brain’s capacity for decision-making can be skewed.
Your ability to judge the speed of moving vehicles or gauge their distance from you may be impaired, which will raise your chance of suffering a roadside injury.
Motorcyclists and Safely Sharing the Roads with Trucks
Riders who use their motorcycles for commuting to work or for fun are always at risk. The state of our roads and the amount of traffic present a very real threat to life on two wheels. Trucks are significantly more so, particularly if they are competent and roadworthy.
How is our ability to drive safely and prevent crashes affected?
The distractions that affect driving ability can be categorized into 3 groups:
- Visual distractions: When a driver’s eyes are diverted away from the road to complete or pay attention to another task.
- Manual distractions: When drivers are required to take their hands off the wheel.
- Cognitive distractions: When the mind and focus of the driver are taken away from driving.
The safety of the driver, passengers, and pedestrians is put at even greater risk by these distractions, which are all hazardous on the road. One or more distractions are frequently combined when someone is eating while driving.
Driving safely demands being mentally attentive and having the ability to respond to risks on the road quickly and effectively. When they are required to focus on additional demands, these capacities are drastically diminished.
- When a driver does not have both hands on the steering wheel, he may not respond effectively to a sudden emergency such as a child running across the road, a tyre blowout from an oncoming vehicle etc.
- Someone who has just spilt a hot beverage on themselves may cause an unexpected hazard in the road for another.
- Even passengers consuming food and trying to feed the driver could make the driver take his/her focus away from the road.
- The vision and focus of the driver may be affected when trash from food ends up on the floorboard, creating a potentially hazardous cluttered driving environment.
- Cans and food packaging may get entangled under the brake pedal if not safely secured.
Threats like these are more common for people who drive for a living and don’t plan ahead to stop for refreshments in a secure location. Even while driving, several long-distance truck drivers have been observed cooking beside them!
Why is Eating behind the Steering Wheel so Dangerous?
To understand why eating while driving is such a harmful distraction, it may be necessary to take into account the procedure involved:
- It combines the three main types of driver distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive.
- Eating almost always takes both hands from the steering wheel.
- It is not merely putting food in our mouths-it involves manipulating packaging, inserting straws, and avoiding spills.
- Food items come in paper bags that must be unfolded, wrappers that must be removed, sauce packets must be torn and squirted, and tend to drip onto the most inconvenient surfaces.
- Drivers bringing food and leftovers from home may have to battle with container lids, cutlery, and trying to digest some less-than-convenient foods.
- Food is mostly held with at least one hand with the driver too often trying to apply condiments.
- Spilling beverages – especially hot beverages-is extremely distracting and could result in some recklessly evasive responses from a driver.