Staying safe as a pedestrian as summer approaches

Thursday April 11, 2019

Last year, a study released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety revealed that pedestrian deaths across Connecticut had increased at an alarming rate. According to research released at the end of 2018, pedestrian deaths from motor vehicle accidents have slightly decreased across the state. However, pedestrian safety remains a critical issue both across the state and the country as pedestrians face constant risks on the roads.

A fatal year for pedestrians

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) recently reported that pedestrian deaths across the U.S. have reached the highest level in 28 years. In 2018, 6,227 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle accidents, up four percent from just 2017.

Several factors are believed to have contributed to so many fatalities. Among the key factors are an increase in those driving SUVs or other large trucks, the prevalence of distracted driving, excessive speeding, driving under the influence and darkness. The GHSA reported that nighttime is increasingly the most dangerous time for pedestrians, with fatalities at night increasing at a faster rate than those during the day.

What can pedestrians do?

As the weather warms up and summer approaches, more residents across New Haven and the Gold Coast may choose to walk to work, take their dog on a longer walk, walk around town and more. Given the difference in size and power between you and a car or truck, it is critical to take several steps to stay safe.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation recommends the following tips:

  • Walk on sidewalks, crosswalks or other protected areas when possible
  • Especially at night, wear bright or reflective clothing to make yourself visible
  • Be mindful of the blind spots of motor vehicles or when they may not see you
  • Exercise caution when crossing the street, especially with oncoming traffic
  • Refrain from “distracted walking” and remain alert to the conditions around you

Both pedestrians and motorists can take steps to enhance the safety of all on the roads, sidewalks, crosswalks and more. Walking in protected areas, exercising caution especially at night and being aware of all those around you can ultimately contribute to fewer accidents, injuries and fatalities.

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