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How can you stay safe as a pedestrian?

Everyone who steps outside their home is a pedestrian from the moment they begin walking outside. Pedestrians are always at risk when they're near roads; dangerous drivers and heavy traffic are most likely to raise the risk of injury, but simply being around roads can raise the risk of being hit by a car significantly.

How many people are killed as pedestrians each year?

In 2010, there were 4,280 people killed in pedestrian traffic accidents around the United States. In 2011, 69,000 pedestrians were injured in crashes, with around 11,000 of those being children ages 14 or younger. In 2013, the number of pedestrians killed in the United States rose to 4,735, while most other groups of road users saw a drop in the number of fatalities. This is a sign that pedestrian accidents are still happening far too often, and the reasons aren't being addressed well.

So, what can you do to stay safe when you're at risk whenever you're around vehicles?

Remember what you were taught as a child; stop, look, and listen for traffic. Even if you can't see around a bend, building, or other vehicles, taking the time to listen for oncoming traffic could save your life. In parking lots, walk where there are pedestrian crossings and make sure you look for vehicles backing up out of the lot.

Much of the burden of safety falls onto drivers, though. Drivers need to drive sober, stay off their digital devices, and stay within the speed limit. Going only 5 or 10 mph over the speed limit could make an otherwise painful but survivable pedestrian accident into a fatal collision.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Pedestrians," accessed June 01, 2016

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