September is Pedestrian Safety Month. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a pedestrian is killed in a traffic crash approximately once every 1.5 hours. Whether it’s walking down a city block, a country road, or a suburban sidewalk, everyone is a pedestrian at some point during the day.
Drivers and pedestrians need to stay alert at all times while traveling. Distractions negatively affect the safety of everyone. While driving, it can be tempting to pick up an electronic device or fiddle with the radio, but that choice could cost someone their life. As a pedestrian, wearing headphones or using a cell phone could lead to disaster if you don’t hear a car horn or don’t notice a stop-signal at a crosswalk.
As a pedestrian, choosing to wear bright colors or reflective materials and carrying a light while walking at night makes it easier for drivers to see you and stop.
Drivers should remember that speeding increases the time it takes for you to see, react, and stop. The higher the speed, the higher the risk.
The Citrus Heights Police Department recommends these simple steps to reduce the number of these tragedies in our community.
- Do not walk near traffic after drinking or using drugs that affect judgment and coordination
- Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk in the shoulder facing traffic and as far away from traffic as possible.
- Only cross the street in marked crosswalks, preferably crosswalks at stop signs or signals.
- Avoid distractions. Stay off of your phone while walking.
- Make eye contact with drivers. Don’t assume they can see you.
- Follow the speed limit. The higher the speed, the longer it takes to stop.
- Never drive distracted or under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
- Look for pedestrians, especially at night and in poorly lit areas.
- Pedestrians have the right-of-way at crosswalks. Even if they are not at a stop sign or signal.
- Never pass a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk. They may be stopping to allow pedestrians to cross.
- Stay alert when backing up and leaving parking spaces in shopping centers with heavy foot traffic.
Funding for pedestrian safety enforcement is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.