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Drivers: Beware of pedestrians to prevent injuries and deaths

Pedestrians are in a difficult position. When they're on the roads, they typically have the right of way. They also have no protection against vehicles. As a result, even if they are in the right, a traffic accident can cause serious or fatal injuries.

In 2013, there were 4,735 people killed in traffic accidents. Another 150,000 people had to be treated for medical concerns following accidents. Thanks to a lack of safety protection, pedestrians are more likely to die in crashes with vehicles than those in the vehicles themselves.

Drivers have a responsibility to pedestrians. They need to be cautious around crosswalks, intersections and stop lights. During peak school hours, they have to slow down and be aware of children and teens who could be on or around the roads. Drivers also have other things they should be doing. For instance, did you know that a driver is supposed to turn on his or her turn signal 100 feet before a turn? This gives pedestrians more time to understand what the driver intends to do.

Drivers also need to watch out for those who have service animals or who are using wheelchairs or walkers. Those who are elderly or disabled may need longer to cross, and a good driver gives them time to do so safely. Pedestrians always have a right-of-way on sidewalks, so if a driver intends to turn into a parking lot, he or she needs to yield to anyone who is already crossing the road. Pedestrians do need to yield if they're not crossing in a crosswalk, but it's always a good idea for drivers to be aware and to slow down to prevent accidents.

Source: University of South carolina, "Pedestrian Safety," accessed Jan. 18, 2018

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