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Safety tips for using crosswalks

Pedestrians get hit by motorcycles, cars, trucks, and other vehicles every year. Due to the size and weight disparity between the vehicles and the pedestrians, the injuries suffered are often severe. This is often the fault of the vehicle driver, who may have been speeding or driving under the influence. It may also be the result of road or weather conditions that are unsafe or minimize visibility. In some cases, however, the pedestrian may have needed to cross the street more safely.

The first thing pedestrians need to do is always cross the street in the crosswalk. This is where vehicles will expect you to cross. Correspondingly, vehicles will slow down and take extra care to look out for pedestrians there. If you cross in the middle of the road though, vehicles will not be expecting you in the street, and they will probably hit you. This can occur even if the street seemed empty when you started crossing since vehicles can peel around corners recklessly.

Pedestrians, including people walking their bikes, should use marked paths along the roadside whenever possible. Walking along the berm on the side of roads is dangerous, as vehicles may drive too close to it and it may be narrow enough to put you very close to vehicles going by at high speed.

Always look both ways when crossing streets, and make sure that you use crosswalk signals anywhere they are available. Keep in mind, however, that some drivers take their vehicles across crosswalks even when the walk signal is on. So, make sure that the drivers see you, and don't take any risks. Ultimately, we all need to be responsible for our own safety, since we are the ones who care the most about it.

Source: University of North Carolina Wilmington, "Crosswalk Safety Tips," accessed April 06, 2016

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