Cities like New Haven, where college students abound, often have more pedestrians using sidewalks and walkways, especially near campus. For drivers, this means they need to stay alert to everything around them – to avoid accidentally hitting someone. Unfortunately, nationally, the number of fatal pedestrian accidents hit a 30-year high in 2019. Drivers killed 6,590 pedestrians last year, a 5% increase from 2018.
Reasons behind the deadly trend
Some of the reasons more pedestrians are dying in auto accidents include the following:
- More drivers are driving larger, heavier vehicles, like pickups and SUVs. So, when a larger, heavier vehicle hits a pedestrian, the pedestrian is more likely to be seriously injured or killed.
- Drivers continue to drive distracted behind the wheel, whether texting, using their phone or being overly tired.
- More drivers are speeding. With increased speeds comes a greater risk of a pedestrian losing their life in a vehicle accident.
- More drivers and walkers are on the roads, leading to more accidents.
How pedestrians can avoid a deadly crash
For pedestrians, following these safety tips can help keep you safe:
- Walk on sidewalks and cross the road at intersections and marked crosswalks so that drivers are more aware of where you’ll be.
- Wear bright, reflective clothing if walking at dawn, dusk or evening.
- Follow all traffic rules.
- Stay alert at all times – avoiding using your phone or listening to loud music where you are distracted from what’s around you.
- Make eye contact with drivers before you plan to cross the street, so they are aware you’ll be coming in their path.
How drivers can avoid a deadly crash
For drivers, they need to follow these safety tips to avoid a pedestrian crash:
- Watch for pedestrians, especially at intersections, crosswalks, school zones or where children may be present.
- Avoid distracted driving and drunk driving.
- Drive the speed limit, especially in residential areas and downtown areas, where pedestrians are more likely.
- Be extra careful when you are backing out of a driveway or coming out of an alley, where you may not notice a pedestrian easily.