With the advent of pleasant springtime days and nights, more pedestrians are evident here in northwest Georgia, and the numbers will only increase throughout the summer months.
Motorists are responsible for controlling their vehicles and keeping an eye out for those on foot, but accidents still happen, some of them deadly. If you are out walking, here are five dangers to be alert to.
Streets and sidewalks
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the majority of pedestrian accidents occur on roadways. In fact, two-thirds take place on city streets. Even if you are on a sidewalk, a car backing out of a driveway or exiting a parking lot could strike you, or a bicycle rider who should be on the road could collide with you.
One of the biggest problem areas for pedestrians is the intersection. Stay alert. You could be in a properly marked crosswalk and still be in danger from a car that is coming around a corner or exiting a nearby parking lot.
You use your ears as well as your eyes to detect nearby traffic. Battery-operated vehicles and hybrids are so quiet you will not hear them coming. Accidents statistics show that these cars are 40 percent more likely than ordinary "noisy" cars to hit someone on foot.
If you are out after dark, you can increase your chance of a safe walk by wearing light or bright colors. Dark clothing is very difficult for motorists to spot at night. This is important to remember in less populated areas where street lighting is either poor or nonexistent.
The number of car-pedestrian accidents increases on weekends. You may think drunk drivers are to blame, and while that is true in part, the IIHS-Highway Loss Data Institute reports that more than a third of fatally injured walkers have a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher. Be aware of the dangers of drinking and walking.