Just in time for summer, a safe driving improvement organization has re-emphasized the risks pedestrians face on Utah’s roads.
Calling on pedestrians to watch out for cars and drivers to be more alert to the presence of pedestrians, Zero Fatalities, in conjunction with the Utah Department of Transportation, has offered up simple tips for all road users—on foot or behind the wheel—to make everyone safer.
Over the past five years, pedestrian deaths in Utah have gone up by 25 percent, reflecting a national trend. Nationally, traffic deaths overall have spiked more than 10 percent over the past two years at the same time that pedestrian fatalities have become a larger portion of total deaths.
But a few simple precautions by pedestrians and drivers would go a long way toward bringing those numbers down drastically.
For their own safety, pedestrians need to obey traffic laws. This means crossing streets carefully and using crosswalks and crossing signals when they’re available. It also means using sidewalks and walking against the flow of traffic to be more aware of approaching vehicles.
Pedestrians should always wear clothing that helps make them visible to drivers, especially at night and near dawn and sunset—nearly three-quarters of fatal encounters happen between 6 p.m. and midnight.
Finally, walkers are urged to avoid impairment. Drunk drivers get a lot of attention, but, in recent years, half or more of all pedestrians killed in traffic accidents were found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs themselves.
In addition to also avoiding driving while impaired, drivers need to remain alert for pedestrians. They need to fine tune their thinking and not look out only for other cars. A good practice is to assume there are pedestrians at every intersection and watch out for them.
Drivers should be extra alert around intersections and crosswalks and should always yield, even when a pedestrian hasn’t yet entered the street. And drivers should proceed at lower speeds in areas where they’re likely to encounter pedestrians. The statistics show that speed kills: While almost everyone will walk away from a 10 mph impact, only half of those struck will survive when a car is moving over 40 mph. At 60 mph, few live to tell the tale.
When the numbers were tallied for Utah, 2016 turned out to be the worst year for traffic crashes in a decade, with a total of 280 fatalities. Impairment and aggressive driving were blamed for most of those, but distracted driving contributed, as did drowsy driving, which also hit a new high.
While even one traffic fatality is a problem, if human error and poor decisions could be eliminated, fatalities would drop drastically.
Craig Swapp & Associates has extensive experience helping the victims of pedestrian crashes and many other types of vehicle accidents. When you’ve been harmed on the road by the actions or negligence of another, you need an attorney who understands how to tackle your kind of case.
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