There are some alarming pedestrian safety stats that were surprising even to someone as risk-averse as me. I hadn’t realized just how hazardous it can be to walk down the street.
My teenage daughter is about to learn to drive, although I know my daughter is very perceptive, driving is all about expecting the unexpected – especially when it comes to pedestrian behaviour. There’s a lot to think about when you’re behind the wheel, and I use each time we’re out as a learning opportunity, and try to set a good example behind the wheel. But I know that it’s more effective follow up a good example with some solid facts.
Pedestrian Safety Statistics: Lessons Learned
One phrase that stuck in my head from the government of Alberta was, “When eyes lock it’s safer to walk.” This is a great reminder for both drivers and pedestrians to make eye contact with each other before entering a crosswalk or intersection. It is the best way to make sure that you both know the other one is there, and can greatly reduce any chance of an unfortunate accident.
Serious pedestrian safety statistics specific to Alberta display trends that are likely applicable across Canada, and are certainly concerning:
- 95.8 percent of vehicle-pedestrian collisions between 2010 and 2014 occurred in urban areas
- In 2014, almost half of all vehicle-pedestrian collisions involved a driver who failed to yield right-of-way to a pedestrian
- Pedestrians between the ages of 15 and 19 had the highest casualty rates among any pedestrian demographic
- The consumption of alcohol was a contributing factor in more than one-third of pedestrian deaths involving accidents with a motor vehicle
At this time of year, when it gets dark early, it’s even more important to be extra cautious, which became glaringly obvious the first night after daylight savings, when we saw two accidents on our way home from soccer.
Other important lessons that I have already passed on to my daughter include:
- Always yield right-of-way to pedestrians
- Do not drive aggressively in intersections and crosswalks
- Be especially mindful of younger pedestrians
- Be especially careful in busy urban areas
Pedestrian Safety Is a Two-Way Street
Both drivers and pedestrians play equal roles in keeping everyone safe and accident-free. I went over some important safety tips for drivers with my daughter, with the highlights including:
- Avoid distracted driving; pay close attention to the road at all times
- Always obey the speed limit, especially in areas with a high concentration of pedestrians
- Remember that pedestrians can appear suddenly and unexpectedly
- Use extra caution in areas where low-hanging tree branches, buildings and other roadside elements may inhibit pedestrian visibility
- Be very careful when backing out of a driveway or parking spot, since pedestrians may enter the driver’s field of view suddenly and with little warning
- Yield right-of-way to pedestrians at intersections and crosswalks
- Never, ever, ever drive under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol
On the pedestrian side of things:
- Again, always lock eyes with the driver
- Do not begin to cross a street until opposing traffic has come to a complete stop
- Be mindful of surroundings, and remember that turning traffic may approach from behind
- Avoid making sudden or unpredictable moves from the sidewalk into the street
- Watch for vehicles reversing out of driveways and parking spots, and do not proceed unless you are sure the driver has seen you
Get the Right Insurance Coverage
It’s also important to carry the proper type and amount of vehicle insurance coverage. Accidents can lead to major liability claims, and we’ve protected ourselves by switching to InsureMy.
InsureMy is a revolutionary provider working in Alberta and Ontario, using advanced technological tools to deliver great rates and friendly service with great claims support. They also offer commercial insurance for fleet owners, helping businesses save big money on their coverage needs. Give them a call to learn more!