Given vivid foliage and brisk temperatures, Autumn is a popular time of the year for walking around the Hudson Valley. Unfortunately, when a car crash involves a pedestrian, the pedestrian does not have the protection of a vehicle and is extremely vulnerable to personal injury and fatality. A highway safety report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) in 2016 shows a drastic rise in pedestrian deaths, with a 10% rise in pedestrian fatalities in 2015, the largest increase since national records began in 1975. The increase was identified by assessing data reported by state highway safety agencies for the first half of 2014 (2,232) compared to the first half of 2015 (2,368). For comparison, prior years have swung between a 10.5% decrease to an 8.1% increase in pedestrian traffic fatalities.
Here are a few pedestrian safety tips to keep in mind to reduce the possibility of an accident:
- Check the weather forecast. Choose a sunny day if possible. If you choose to go out in the rain, wear rain proof outerwear.
- Obey signs that state an area is closed off for the season.
- Set out in the morning or early afternoon. Check that day’s sunset time and plan to be back before it gets dark. If you go out for a walk or run in the dark, wear appropriate reflective gear, flashing lights and a headlamp.
- Walk with a buddy.
- If you are going for a hike in a quiet area be sure to tell somewhere where you are going and when you plan to be back.
- Pack plenty of food and water to keep your energy up.
- Bring a cell phone and/or a radio if you plan to hike away from cell phone service. Load emergency contacts under an obvious setting and bring your identification.
- Do not wear headphones or earbuds, particularly if you are walking or running near traffic.
- Face traffic because it is easier for you to see oncoming cars and easier for cars to see you.
- Be extra cautious when crossing roads at corners or at the top of hills as cars may not see you until they are right on top of you.
- Use paths or sidewalks whenever possible but be prepared to move onto the shoulder of the road if the road narrows.
- Avoid areas like parking lots to bars and restaurants and busy shopping centers.
- Be aware of other vehicles, bicycles and other pedestrians around you at all times.