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How to be a safer, more alert pedestrian

Is it safe anymore for pedestrians to cross the street? Many people today will say it’s not -- due to a number of factors related to the growing number of inattentive drivers or neglectful actions brought on by the pedestrians themselves.

Around the country, nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in 2016, representing the highest number in more than 20 years. In Connecticut, the state reported more than 1,400 accidents involving motor vehicles and pedestrians in 2016, and more than 50 pedestrians died that year.

Many factors in motor vehicle-pedestrian accidents

Some of the Connecticut victims from 2018 include a 70-year-old man who was killed while crossing the street in Greenwich, and a 58-year-old woman who was on her way to work in Stamford.

Many such accidents are unintentional and the result of circumstances beyond the control of the driver and the pedestrian. But many other accidents could have been avoided. Excessive speed, ignoring traffic laws, alcohol and substance abuse as well as the popularity of texting and the use of electronic devices all continue to play factors in motor vehicle-pedestrian accidents.

Tips on how to better safely cross the street

Do you want to be safe while walking on your city streets? Well here are a few things you can do to make sure of that:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings. Remember what your mother told you: Look in both directions before you cross the street.
  • Don’t assume that drivers see you as you cross the street. Make eye contact with them and stay visible by wearing bright clothing. After all, it’s your life.
  • Pay attention to traffic laws and signals. A number of car-pedestrian accidents occur because pedestrians walk against the walk signal. Don’t become a statistic.
  • Be on the alert for drivers who ignore traffic rules. Many drivers may be speeding, not paying attention to the road and drive through stop signs and traffic signals.
  • Be on the alert for distracted drivers who may be texting, talking on a cellphone, eating food, putting on make-up or other things. They are not paying attention, so you must be extra vigilant.
  • Don’t text or talk on the cell phone while crossing the street. Distracted walking is becoming much more common as pedestrians are getting hit by cars.
  • Avoid wearing headphones. Not only do you need to be able to see what’s going on around you, but you also must be able to hear what is going on around you.
  • Don’t cross the street while drunk. In 2016, a report noted that 34 percent of pedestrians and 15 percent of drivers involved in fatal accidents were drunk.

Motor vehicle-pedestrian accidents happen at all times of the day. Be on the alert and stay safe.

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