Street Survival - Advanced Defensive Driving

DANGERS > PEDESTRIANS

Pedestrians

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More than 270 000 pedestrians lose their lives on the world’s roads each year accounting for 22% of the total 1.24 million road traffic deaths. WHO

⚠️ Note that a number of clips contain serious collisions.

The hazards involving pedestrians are categorized according to the sub-sections below:

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? Questions:

Dangers Pedestrians

🛈 Statistics on pedestrian deaths around the world

Pedestrian deaths are a significant problem worldwide, and unfortunately, the statistics paint a grim picture. Here are some statistics on pedestrian deaths worldwide:

  • In the United States, there were 6,283 pedestrian deaths in 2018, accounting for 17% of all traffic fatalities. This was the highest number of pedestrian deaths since 1990.

  • In the European Union (EU), there were 21,204 pedestrian deaths between 2010 and 2019, accounting for 21% of all road fatalities.

  • In India, there were 22,656 pedestrian deaths in 2019, accounting for 15% of all road fatalities.

  • In Australia, there were 169 pedestrian deaths in 2020, accounting for 14% of all road deaths.

These statistics highlight the need for greater awareness and action to improve pedestrian safety on the roads. Governments, cities, and communities should take steps to improve pedestrian infrastructure, such as adding crosswalks, improving lighting and visibility, and reducing vehicle speeds.

Drivers should also be more aware of pedestrians and adjust their driving accordingly. By working together, we can reduce the number of pedestrian deaths and make our roads safer for everyone.

☠️Pedestrians most at risk

Pedestrians are indeed among the most vulnerable road users and are at higher risk of injury or fatality in traffic accidents. Here are some reasons why pedestrians are particularly vulnerable:

  • Lack of Protection: Unlike motorists who are inside vehicles, pedestrians have no structural protection in the event of a collision. They are directly exposed to the impact and are more susceptible to severe injuries.

  • Limited Visibility: Pedestrians can be less visible to drivers, especially in low-light conditions or when obstructed by objects, parked cars, or vegetation. This makes it more challenging for drivers to anticipate and respond to their presence.

  • Speed and Distance: Vehicles can travel at higher speeds compared to pedestrians. The impact of a vehicle striking a pedestrian can be severe, especially if the vehicle is traveling at a high speed. Additionally, the distance required for a vehicle to come to a complete stop is longer than that for a pedestrian.

  • Intersection Risks: Intersections can be particularly dangerous for pedestrians, as they often involve multiple directions of traffic and various crossing points. Failure to obey traffic signals, distracted driving, or turning without checking for pedestrians can lead to collisions.

  • Age and Physical Ability: Children, elderly individuals, and people with disabilities may have reduced mobility, slower reaction times, or difficulty judging traffic situations. This can make them more vulnerable when crossing roads or walking near traffic.

To enhance pedestrian safety, several measures can be implemented:

  • Improved Infrastructure: Constructing and maintaining sidewalks, crosswalks, and pedestrian bridges or tunnels can help separate pedestrians from vehicle traffic and provide safer crossing points.

  • Traffic Calming Measures: Implementing traffic calming measures, such as speed bumps, raised crosswalks, and narrower lanes, can help reduce vehicle speeds and increase driver awareness in areas with high pedestrian activity.

  • Pedestrian Education: Promoting pedestrian safety education programs and campaigns can increase awareness among pedestrians about safe crossing practices and the importance of being visible to drivers.

  • Driver Education and Enforcement: Educating drivers about pedestrian right-of-way laws, the importance of yielding to pedestrians, and the potential consequences of not doing so can improve driver behavior and reduce the risk to pedestrians. Enforcing traffic laws and holding drivers accountable for violations can also help deter unsafe driving practices.

  • Improved Lighting: Adequate street lighting can enhance visibility for both drivers and pedestrians, particularly during nighttime hours.

  • Distraction Awareness: Raising awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and encouraging drivers to stay focused on the road can help reduce the risk of collisions involving pedestrians.

It's important for both pedestrians and drivers to be alert, cautious, and respectful of each other's presence on the road. By practicing safe behaviors and adhering to traffic laws, the risk to pedestrians can be significantly reduced.

? Where do most pedestrian accidents occur?

Pedestrian accidents can occur in various locations, but certain areas tend to have a higher frequency of incidents. Here are some common locations where pedestrian accidents often occur:

  • Crosswalks: Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable when crossing roads at designated crosswalks. Failure by drivers to yield the right-of-way or observe traffic signals can lead to accidents.

  • Intersections: Intersections, especially those with heavy traffic or complex configurations, can be high-risk areas for pedestrians. Collisions may occur when drivers fail to stop at red lights or stop signs, make turns without checking for pedestrians, or engage in distracted driving.

  • Urban Areas: Pedestrian accidents are more prevalent in densely populated urban areas with a mix of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Factors such as crowded sidewalks, higher vehicle speeds, and increased distractions can contribute to higher accident rates.

  • Non-Intersection Locations: Pedestrian accidents can occur outside of marked crosswalks or intersections, where pedestrians may attempt to cross mid-block or jaywalk. These areas may lack appropriate signage, lighting, or designated pedestrian infrastructure.

  • Residential Areas: Residential neighborhoods with lower speed limits may still experience pedestrian accidents, often involving children or elderly individuals. Drivers must remain cautious and aware of pedestrians in these areas.

  • Areas with Poor Infrastructure: Locations lacking proper pedestrian infrastructure, such as sidewalks, marked crosswalks, or pedestrian signals, can increase the risk of accidents. These areas may force pedestrians to share the road with vehicles or make crossing more hazardous.

  • Parking Lots: Pedestrian accidents can occur in parking lots due to limited visibility, driver distractions while searching for parking spaces, or drivers failing to yield to pedestrians walking through parking lanes.

  • Bus Stops and Transit Areas: Pedestrians are at risk near bus stops or transit areas, as they may need to cross multiple lanes of traffic or contend with buses maneuvering in and out of stops.

  • School Zones: Areas surrounding schools can be particularly hazardous for pedestrians, especially during drop-off and pick-up times. Increased traffic volume, impatient drivers, and children crossing the road pose risks.

It's important for both pedestrians and drivers to exercise caution, follow traffic laws, and be attentive in these areas to reduce the likelihood of pedestrian accidents. Implementing safety measures such as improved signage, traffic calming measures, enhanced lighting, and educational campaigns can also contribute to safer pedestrian environments.

Why do pedestrians have the right of way?

The concept of pedestrians having the right of way is based on the principle of prioritizing the safety and protection of vulnerable road users. Here are some reasons why pedestrians are often granted the right of way in various traffic situations:

  • Vulnerability: Pedestrians are among the most vulnerable road users, as they lack the protection of a vehicle's structure in the event of a collision. Granting pedestrians the right of way helps prioritize their safety and reduces the risk of accidents and injuries.

  • Promoting Safety: Granting pedestrians the right of way helps create a safer road environment. It encourages drivers to be more attentive, cautious, and aware of pedestrians, reducing the likelihood of collisions and promoting a culture of shared responsibility on the road.

  • Pedestrians' Limited Speed: Compared to vehicles, pedestrians typically have lower speeds of travel. Granting them the right of way acknowledges their slower pace and recognizes that it may take them longer to cross the road or navigate intersections.

  • Established Traffic Norms: Over time, traffic laws and regulations have evolved to recognize the importance of protecting pedestrians. Granting pedestrians the right of way has become an established norm in many jurisdictions, and drivers are expected to yield to pedestrians in specific situations, such as at marked crosswalks or when pedestrians have a green signal.

  • Encouraging Active Transportation: Prioritizing pedestrian safety by granting the right of way can also promote walking and other forms of active transportation. Encouraging pedestrians to choose active modes of transport benefits public health, reduces traffic congestion, and contributes to a more sustainable and livable community.

It's important to note that while pedestrians generally have the right of way in certain situations, they also have responsibilities to cross safely and follow traffic laws. Pedestrians should exercise caution, use designated crosswalks when available, obey traffic signals, and be aware of their surroundings to ensure their own safety and the safety of others on the road.

The specific rules regarding pedestrian right of way may vary by jurisdiction, so it's always advisable to familiarize yourself with local traffic laws and regulations to understand how the right of way is defined and enforced in your area.

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