by Waamene Yowika
Pedestrian crashes are on the rise in Texas. In 2016, 678 pedestrian fatalities occurred in Texas. Pedestrian crashes accounted for 3,434 fatal crashes (16 percent of all fatal crashes) and 6,815 severe crashes (7 percent of all serious crashes) from 2010–2016 (1).
What the data also tells us is most pedestrian crashes are happening mid-block, meaning at non-pedestrian rights-of-way.
So why do we tell you this?
Well, there is work being done to prevent pedestrian crashes. On October 2nd we celebrated National Walk to School Day. This year our regional representatives partnered with Safe Kids Austin, the City of Austin, and Safe Kids San Antonio to support Teens in the Driver Seat® schools with pedestrian safety education materials. Teens gave out safety brochures, lights and put out yard signs.
But more can be done.
In case you missed it, here’s some safe walking advice:
- Avoid all distractions, such as cell phones and ear buds or other electronics;
- Be aware of vehicles around you;
- Make eye contact with drivers before you cross the street;
- Make a plan – look for the safest route with less traffic, slower speeds, more lighting, and sidewalks;
- DO NOT try walking or crossing on highways;
- Be seen – wear bright or reflective clothing;
- If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible;
- Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available;
- Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways, or backing up in parking lots; and
- Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking; they impair your abilities and your judgment.
Follow this advice to ensure your safety and share it with others. Next year, plan to participate in National Walk to School Day, which is normally the first week of October.
Not to mention, there are health benefits to walking, so it’s a bit unfortunate when people feel unsafe on the street because it discourages walking. 😥 Check out these health benefits:
- Reduces body fat
- Improves heart and lung fitness and function
- Makes your bones stronger
- Improves balance
- Does not strain your knees (unlike running)
- Reduces your risk of having a heart attack or stroke
- Reduces Stress or anxiety
- Increases muscles and endurance
- Can be used as a form of meditation
It’s going to take everyone – drivers, walkers, and bikers – to ensure safety on the streets. Taking precautions and following the rules of the road is the best way to prevent injury.
Waamene Yowika is a student obtaining her bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering who comes from a background of doing IT Infrastructure for the State. On the side she does Marketing & Advertisement. She is a huge advocate for traffic safety especially Drunk Driving, Bicycle & Pedestrian Safety, Speeding, and Aggressive Driving.