In 2019, there were roughly 229 million licensed drivers in the United States (with 27 million in California alone), making the U.S. one of the highest populations of drivers in the world. With this many drivers on the road, not only is driver safety a concern, but pedestrian safety is of the utmost importance as well.
In that same year (2019), over 6,000 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes. Whether you drive or don’t, everyone is a pedestrian at one point or another, and in metropolitan areas, the number of pedestrians on the roads increases exponentially. From neighborhoods to the sidewalks just outside of businesses, we can all do things to improve the safety of crosswalks everywhere.
One of the best ways to improve pedestrian safety is to behave safely whenever you yourself are a pedestrian. This means being predictable by following the rules of the road, obeying signs and signals, and utilizing a crosswalk rather than crossing in the middle of the road. While on the sidewalks, stay alert at all times, and stay off electronics that can take both your eyes and ears away from the surrounding hazards.
Most importantly, never assume a driver sees you. A driver has many blind spots, and as a pedestrian, you fit nicely into almost all of them.
If you manage your city’s crosswalks, you can improve crosswalk safety through a few simple actions. From well-lit areas at night and highly reflective paint to removing obstructions and marking parking restrictions around crosswalks, these things can – and should – inform drivers of possible pedestrians in the area. You can also utilize intelligent traffic sources, such as flashing crosswalk lights, to alert drivers of a crosswalk in use. This is particularly helpful at night.
Visibility is the number-one safety step you should address.
Pedestrian crossing signs are another way to improve pedestrian crossing. School zones, specifically, are some of the best places to implement signs for pedestrians – especially in the middle of crosswalks. Not only do they help improve visibility, but they specify the type of crosswalk, informing drivers that they are guaranteed to encounter pedestrians near or at a crosswalk.
Not only do you need the signs, but you also need them to be made of quality retroreflective material. At Interwest Safety Supply, we invest time and effort to remain a certified 3M sign fabricator.
Thank your local crossing guard!
Crossing guards are often underappreciated. While they typically work near school zones, crossing guards can be placed in any high-pedestrian traffic area. As a driver, be respectful of their directions and the fact that they are putting themselves at risk to ensure the safety of those using crosswalks. As a crossing guard, make sure that you have access to highly visible and reflective PPE for your own safety.
Above all, the drivers are vital to crosswalk safety. Safety is a shared responsibility – one that requires extra caution from drivers everywhere, especially in hard-to-see conditions. When backing up, use every precaution possible and yield to pedestrians, even if they are violating the rules of the road. Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk, and never drive while impaired or distracted.
Nothing is worth the life of a pedestrian.
From the use of effective traffic signs and safety measures, we all have a responsibility to ensure safety around crosswalks. For over 40 years, we have made it our mission at Interwest Safety Supply to keep drivers, pedestrians, and workers safe while on and around the road. If you are concerned about the safety of the crosswalks in your area, contact one of our experts today to see how we can help improve the conditions in your community today.
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