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Safer walking: Sidewalks, buffer zones and technology matter

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2021 | Pedestrian Accidents |

Pedestrians are at risk of being hit by drivers any time they’re near the roadway, but if there are sidewalks, bike lanes and other buffer areas available, their risk of injury decreases significantly. Why?

Sidewalks allow for more even surfaces that even those with visual or mobility restrictions can use. Buffer zones put more space between people and vehicles, so even if a driver does look away or start to drift out of the lane, they have more time to correct that action. The pedestrian also has more time to get out of the way safely.

Pedestrian accidents don’t have to happen. Technology is starting to be developed that may help reduce the risk of a collision, too. While typical safety items like brightly colored vests, flags and jackets can help both AI and human drivers see pedestrians, new thermal technology options may make it even simpler for vehicles’ computer systems to detect pedestrians in the roadway.

Safer walking starts with changing driver and pedestrian actions

All of the above changes can help, but the reality is that, for now, safer walking starts with pedestrians and drivers changing the way they move on and around the roadways.

Safety tips for drivers

To be safer, drivers should:

  • Always check behind them when they back out of parking spots
  • Avoid running yellow or red lights at intersections
  • Look before making a turn that goes through a crosswalk
  • Slow down in places where pedestrians are more likely to be
  • Avoid distractions

These simple changes can help drivers protect pedestrians and avoid collisions.

Safety tips for pedestrians

Like drivers, there are tips pedestrians can use to stay safe as well. Some include:

  • Avoiding the use of headsets when walking
  • Walking in groups
  • Crossing at marked crosswalks or intersections
  • Wearing bright colors
  • Looking both ways before crossing the street
  • Avoiding distractions

Both drivers and pedestrians have a responsibility to stay safe. While technology and changes in infrastructure will help, making smaller changes in how you act on the roads is the easiest way to start making a difference in your safety and the safety of others today.