This morning across the world, many schools and their students participated in the International Walk to School Day. The program was created in Great Britain in 1994 and its purpose was to promote healthy habits and safer roads!
The Walk to School organization here in America focuses on "building walkable communities across the nation." With encouraging more people to walk, it is important that people are aware of pedestrians when driving and that pedestrians follow the rules of the road as well.
Although many organizations and the government are working to make things safer and people more aware of pedestrians, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that in 2012 (most recent data), 4,743 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents. In South Carolina, there were 123 deaths.
With numbers still amazingly high, everyone should follow these steps to be safe:
If you are driving:
1. LOOK OUT for pedestrians. Be especially aware at night or in bad weather conditions.
2. SLOW DOWN. Be prepared to stop when turning or entering a crosswalk.
3. STOP at crosswalk lines to give other drivers a chance to see the pedestrians and yield.
4. Be CAUTIOUS when backing up. Small children or others may be difficult to see.
If you are walking, biking, jogging, etc...:
1. FOLLOW THE RULES of the road and cross only at crosswalks or intersections when they are available.
2. OBEY the traffic signals and signs.
3. WALK FACING TRAFFIC and walk/bike/jog as far from traffic as possible if there are no sidewalks.
4. PAY ATTENTION! Stay off cell phones and ignore other distractions until you are away from traffic.
These simple yet effective rules of the road can and will reduce accidents. Do your part and always be on the look out whether you are driving or if you are a pedestrian.