Pedestrian Safety

Each year thousands of pedestrians are killed while walking, running, and jogging along or across public streets and highways in the United States. Many of these accidents can be avoided.

Major Types of Pedestrian Traffic Accidents

The major crash types most often associated with pedestrian accidents are:

  • Pedestrians darting out mid-block in front of a vehicle
  • Running from one side of the intersection to the other
  • A vehicle turning from one street onto another
  • Pedestrian crossing a multi-lane street
  • Vehicles backing up

What a Pedestrian Can Do to Prevent Pedestrian Crashes

  • Walk Defensively: Be prepared for the unexpected. Don't let cars surprise you even if a motorist does something wrong like running a stop sign or red light, or making a sudden turn.
  • Walk Facing Oncoming Traffic: When there are no sidewalks, walk near the curb or off the road, if necessary.
  • Cross Streets at Intersections Whenever Possible: Look in all directions before entering the street. Be especially alert to a vehicle that may be turning right on a red signal. If there are marked crosswalks, use them but do not assume that you are completely safe in a marked crosswalk. Don't cross at mid-block locations because "jaywalking" is dangerous and in some cases against the law.
  • At Intersections, Look for the Sign or Signals: They will help you to cross safely. Use pedestrian push-buttons for crossing protection at signalized intersections that have pedestrian indications. The lighted "Walk" (or walking person symbol) and "Don't Walk" (or hand symbol) signals are meant for pedestrians. If the "Don't Walk" is blinking while you are crossing the street in that direction, continue to quickly and carefully complete the crossing. If there are no pedestrian indications, watch the traffic signals. When there are only "Stop" or "Yield" signs, or no traffic control signs, then look in all directions and only cross when traffic has cleared.
  • Be Careful in Parking Lots: Pedestrians are supposed to have the right-of-way in parking lots, but many drivers don't wait for pedestrians. Parking lots can be more hazardous than streets. On streets the direction of traffic is usually known, but in parking lots vehicles might be moving in all directions, including backwards.
  • Avoid Dangerous Moves: Any movement a pedestrian makes that drivers are not expecting could be dangerous. When leaving a school bus, wait a second before crossing. Drivers don't always stop for unloading school buses; so stop, look all ways, and then cross when it is safe to do so. Don't step into traffic from between parked cars since this is a sure way of surprising drivers.
  • Keep Your View of Traffic Clear at All Times: A pedestrian needs to be able to see vehicles around him. Don't block your view with packages, umbrellas, or other objects.