As the end of Daylight Saving Time approaches and clocks are turned back, Newton Police Department cautions motorists and pedestrians to be more alert to roadway risks.
Thousands of people each year are killed on America’s roadways, and many of those deaths could have been prevented. In fact, in 2018, 17 percent (6,283) of all roadway-related deaths were pedestrian fatalities, which equates to a traffic-related pedestrian death every 84 minutes. Tragically, in a crash between a vehicle and a pedestrian, the pedestrian is far more likely to be killed or injured.
In 2018, more pedestrian fatalities occurred in the dark (76%) than in daylight (20%), dusk (2%), and dawn (2%). The NPD warns drivers, “adjusting to the new low-light environment can take time, and that puts everyone – especially pedestrians – at greater risk of death or injury.
Pedestrians who carry a ?ashlight or wear re?ective gear at night increase their safety by making sure they’re visible to drivers at greater distances.
Here are some additional pointers:
- Slow down. During evening hours, you need more time to see a pedestrian in your path.
- Keep in mind that pedestrians who are distracted by their phones, or wearing headphones, hats or earmuffs may not hear your vehicle as it approaches.
- Keep your windshield, windows, and mirrors clean. Make sure your defrosters and windshield wipers are working properly and that washer ?uid is replaced as needed.
- Carry a ?ashlight or attach re?ective materials - such as ?uorescent tape - to clothing, backpacks, purses, and briefcases. These materials re?ect light from headlights back to drivers, making it easier to see you.
- Don’t depend on the traffic signal to protect you. Motorists may be distracted, especially when adjusting to the nighttime travel environment.
- Just because you can see a motorist does not mean he or she can see you. If you cannot make eye contact or do not see the driver slow down for you, just wait until the vehicle passes, even if you have the right of way. If you have multiple lanes to cross, slow and watch for traffic at each lane.
- Avoid jaywalking and crossing between parked vehicles. Crosswalks are a safer alternative.
- Walk on sidewalks whenever possible. If you must walk on the street, walk facing traffic.
Both drivers and pedestrians should always keep road safety habits in mind, too, like not using electronic devices or drinking or using drugs while driving or walking because they can impair judgement. Everyone who uses America’s roads has a duty to drive safely, which, in turn, helps everyone get to their destinations unharmed.
To reduce traffic safety risks to pedestrians, safety should always be top-of-mind for those traveling on and near the road. Visit www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/pedestrian-safety to learn more tips, and to get more information about pedestrian safety.