Spring into safety with these pedestrian tips

Thousands of pedestrians are killed each year in traffic accidents. Drivers need to be aware that people can be walking near traffic at any time.

The weather is finally beginning to warm up in West Virginia and across the country. This means more people will start walking to their destinations, be it to work, for exercise or just to enjoy the spring sunshine. While drivers can encounter pedestrians any time of the year, now is a good time to revisit common safety tips for pedestrians and drivers.

In 2017, 26 pedestrians were killed in West Virginia, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This illustrates the importance of drivers being on the lookout for people walking near traffic, as well as pedestrians taking measures to increase their own safety.

Tips for pedestrians

People who regularly walk near traffic may expect drivers to be courteous and cautious and to give them space. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Drivers are often distracted, and they might not expect to see a pedestrian walking near the side of the road or crossing the street. As such, pedestrians can improve their safety by remembering the following tips:

· Walk facing traffic.

· Stay on sidewalks or as far away from traffic as possible if there are no sidewalks.

· Wear bright or light-colored clothing or take a flashlight to increase visibility.

· Cross the street at crosswalks, intersections or other places where drivers are more likely to expect or see pedestrians.

· Be alert and never assume drivers will see or stop for pedestrians.

Additionally, pedestrians should be aware of high-risk situations where it is difficult for drivers to see them or where they might not expect them. These include driveways and parking lots where vehicles are entering traffic or backing out.

Drivers' responsibilities

The majority of the responsibility falls to drivers when it comes to pedestrian safety. Drivers should always expect pedestrians to be nearby, even in places where a person on foot is unlikely. They should slow down in school zones and neighborhoods and yield to pedestrians crossing the street, even if they are not in a designated crosswalk. When it is dark outside or weather conditions have lowered visibility, drivers should be extra cautious and reduce their speed if necessary.

A staggering 5,977 pedestrians were killed across the United States in 2017. These tragic numbers may be reduced when drivers and pedestrians alike are aware of the dangers, and especially when drivers become more aware that pedestrians often share the road. If you were impacted by a negligent driver in a pedestrian accident, you may wish to speak with an experienced West Virginia personal injury attorney.