Recently a community member expressed concern regarding the issue of pedestrian safety. As the Office of Public Safety, it is our endeavor to ensure that our campus be as safe as possible—for everyone.
“Remember to look both ways before you cross!” The old warning our parents preached to us about crossing streets still rings true today. Safely crossing or walking near streets should always be a priority, for adults and children alike. In 2008 alone, there were 73,378 accidents involving pedestrians with 4,378 of them resulting in the pedestrian being killed (source: http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/Pedestrian_Safety/factsheet.html).
As a pedestrian, how can we avoid becoming a statistic? The answer may be easier than you think. First, practice what our parents preached and always look both ways when crossing the street. The safest practice is to look left, right and then left again, as the closest oncoming traffic is always to your left. Second, be sure to make eye contact with approaching drivers. Before you step into the road, making eye contact with the driver increases both parties’ awareness and decreases the chance of surprise. Third, pedestrians should wear appropriate bright or reflective clothing and/or carry a flashlight in low-light situations, such as night time or sunrise/sunset. Reflective clothing and flashlights increases the pedestrian’s visibility. Dark clothing, and even sometimes light-colored clothing, may put the pedestrian at risk because of potential shadowy areas or unaware drivers.
When you are outside jogging, stay alert to your surroundings. Try to stay within the visibility and hearing of others. Also, try to stay on the sidewalks and always cross the streets at the crosswalks. If there are no sidewalks, run against the traffic so that you can see when vehicles are approaching you and so drivers can see you as well.
When you’re in parking lots, keep an eye out for vehicles that are starting to move or back out of parking spots as well as vehicles that may be hidden around corners or by parked vehicles. Stay alert and avoid walking behind a vehicle that has its reverse lights on.
Staying safe while walking is the responsibility of the pedestrian, but drivers should pay attention to their surroundings and pedestrians while operating their vehicles. Driving the speed limit, not accelerating rapidly and looking out for pedestrians are some important responsibilities of drivers operating any vehicle. Drivers should remain alert and cautious when driving in parking lots or in residential areas where hidden pedestrians and vehicles are more likely to be.
Also, check out the Safe Kids USA website, which references pedestrian safety and other safety resource information: http://www.safekids.org/safety-basics/safety-resources-by-risk-area/pedestrian/
Both drivers and pedestrians need to remain alert of their surroundings. Be aware of your surroundings, keep an eye out for each other and be a part of preventing and/or reducing the number of accidents involving pedestrians.
Our campus’ safety and security depends on everyone’s participation.
Written by Officer Bryan Parris
Office of Public Safety