September is Pedestrian Safety Month

More people are out walking – for work, school, shopping or just for fun, exercise, and being outside. In an era where we are promoting walking as a healthy, positive, and community building alternative to driving, and it’s important to learn to navigate traffic safely, especially true with children. Walking to and from school is a great place to start.

Clearly, walking to school helps reduce traffic and pollution while providing more exercise for kids. But it’s also a great opportunity to teach children about traffic safety. When parents demonstrate good behavior, kids follow. Crossing at corners, looking four ways
before crossing, and making eye contact with drivers are important lessons to teach our kids. Pedestrian Safety Month provides a great opportunity to put safety and activity at the top of your to-do list.

Drivers also play a key role in pedestrian safety. Simply by slowing down and paying more attention, safety can improve greatly, especially in school zones. Putting away distractions, stopping at stop signs and yielding to pedestrians and slowing down are top
Safety is a two-way street. Drivers and pedestrians must work together to demonstrate safe behaviors on the road, helping to protect themselves and those around them.

Here are some quick tips:

Be predictable. Use crosswalks. Make eye contact with drivers before crossing.
Look four ways before crossing. Take notice of approaching vehicles and practice due care.
Cross at corners and crosswalks whenever possible. Never dodge between cars.
Do not walk or run into the path of a vehicle. Drivers are distracted and kids are hard to see.
Be visible. Make it easy for drivers to see you – wear bright colors, reflective material and carry a flashlight, particularly at dawn, dusk or at night.
Be extra careful crossing streets or entering crosswalks at night when it is harder to see, or when crossing busier streets with more lanes and higher speed limits.

Don’t speed, follow the speed limit
Put phones and other distractions aside. Always be cautious of your surroundings.
Never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Look out for pedestrians, especially in hard-to-see conditions such as at night or in bad weather.
Pedestrians have the right of way at any crosswalk or intersection, so yield and be prepared to stop.
Stop at the crosswalk stop lines to give drivers in other lanes an opportunity to see and yield to pedestrians too.
Be cautious when backing up – pedestrians, especially young children, can move across your path. Especially at driveways. Learn to stop at the sidewalk and watch for pedestrians.

The Office of Traffic Safety, together with partners at the State Transportation Agency, Caltrans, CHP, DMV and concerned organizations and advocates across the state, wants to bring awareness to the California public about the dangers pedestrians face so that injuries and fatalities can be reduced on roadways.

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