Walking is the most basic form of transportation that is healthy, economical and environment friendly. At some point in the day, everyone is a pedestrian. Unfortunately, pedestrians are also the most vulnerable road users. Across the country, pedestrian fatalities continue to increase at an alarming rate.
In 2021, an estimated 7,485 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes nationwide, representing an increase of 11.5% from 2020. This is the largest number of pedestrian fatalities in four decades. In Delaware, around 22 to 24 percent of all traffic fatalities are pedestrians.
Whether you are a pedestrian or a driver, there are ways you can protect yourself or your loved one while walking.
5 Walking Safety Tips
- Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available. If one isn't available, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
- Keep alert at all times; don't be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
- Whenever possible, cross streets at crosswalks or intersections, where drivers expect pedestrians, and look for cars in all directions, including those turning. If neither are available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross safely and watch for traffic as you cross.
- Be visible at all times. Wear bright clothing during the day and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night. Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach to make sure you are seen.
- Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways or backing up in parking lots.
5 Driving Safety Tips
- Look out for pedestrians everywhere, at all times. Use extra caution when driving in hard-to-see conditions, such as nighttime or bad weather.
- Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk. And, never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. There may be people crossing that you can't see.
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and stop well back from the crosswalk to give other vehicles an opportunity to see and stop for the crossing pedestrians.
- Follow the speed limit, especially around people on the street. Follow slower speed limits in school zones and in neighborhoods where children are present.
- Be extra cautious when backing up pedestrians can move into your path.