California roads can quickly become crowded with all manner of vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Intersections, bike paths, crosswalks and surface streets can seem overwhelming to drivers of all experience levels. It is crucial that both pedestrians and drivers focus on safety and exercise caution no matter the length of their trip.
In any type of collision, a pedestrian will likely suffer the most catastrophic injuries of anyone involved. Data compiled by the California Office of Traffic Safety can be jarring:
- In 2018, more than 14,000 pedestrians were injured in California alone
- In 2018, 893 pedestrians were killed in California
- The fatality rate in California is nearly 25% higher than the average across the United States
What can pedestrians do to stay safe?
It is crucial that pedestrians understand the situation and their surroundings. Above all else, they shouldn’t take for granted that a driver will see them and/or follow posted safety signals. To have a better chance of avoiding serious collisions, pedestrians should:
- Stay visible by wearing bright or reflective clothing or accessories.
- Avoid distractions such as cell phone use, eating, drinking or personal grooming while walking.
- Pay attention to your surroundings by making eye contact with drivers at intersections.
What can drivers do to keep the roads safe?
Drivers in vehicles – cars, trucks or motorcycles – can directly impact the safety of those around them. From other drivers on the road to pedestrians and bicyclists, a serious accident can have devastating ramifications in terms of both health and finances. To keep California roads safe, drivers should:
- Follow speed limits and other safety signals such as no turns and pedestrian crossing areas.
- Avoid any type of distraction while behind the wheel such as eating, drinking, texting, talking or manipulating a navigation system.
- Watch out for pedestrians even when there is no crosswalk. Having the right-of-way doesn’t mean that it’s okay to cause a collision.
In a collision, pedestrians stand to suffer devastating injuries such as brain damage, paralysis, ligament damage, broken bones or crush injuries. It is wise to take extra care and avoid hazards whenever possible.