Maglite® is urging people to be extra cautious as we go through the "vacation months" this year. The flashlight manufacturer has declared July to be National Roadside Traffic Safety Awareness Month. July through October—the so-called vacation months—hold three of the four deadliest holiday weekends from a fatal crash standpoint, and the company wants to help you stay safe.
Pedestrian Deaths on the Rise
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a pedestrian is injured every seven minutes and one is killed every two hours in a traffic crash.
In 2015, pedestrians were one of the only groups to show a rise in crash fatalities, with 5,376 total deaths. This made up about 15 percent of fatal traffic crashes that year, and is a nine percent increase from 2014. Data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) shows pedestrian deaths have risen 31 percent since reaching their lowest point in 2009.
To help people save lives, Maglite launched a dedicated website, www.nrtsa.org, and is promoting a public education campaign with the goal of reducing injuries and fatalities that happen on America’s roads and highways, especially among pedestrians. The NHTSA classifies a pedestrian as anyone who is not in a vehicle. This can be someone who is traveling on or near a road on foot, or a person who has exited a vehicle on or near a road (often due to minor collisions or breakdowns).
Stay Visible, Stay Safe
Both drivers and pedestrians should practice good safety habits when on (or near) roads. Pedestrians should use a flashlight, wear reflective clothing or gear and practice common sense on or near roadways. Accidents involving pedestrians can happen at any time, but there is a greater danger at night. Of the number of fatal crashes involving pedestrians, 74 percent were struck at night.
To help increase safety, Maglite has created a new product, the Traffic Wand, which fits the brand’s most popular flashlights. The product converts flashlights into high-visibility illuminated wands that can be used for signaling in emergencies. Mag Instruments Inc., makers of the safety device, won the 2017 National American Manufacturing Award for Best New Product for the Traffic Wand.
To help you avoid becoming a statistic, the NHTSA shares these tips for pedestrians:
- Follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
- Always walk on sidewalks, but if they are not available, walk facing traffic and as far from it as possible.
- Always be alert. Use your eyes and ears and do not be distracted by electronics.
- Cross at crosswalks or intersections. If these are not available, cross in well-lit areas with a good view of traffic.
- Look for cars in all directions, including those turning, exiting driveways and backing up in parking lots.
- Improve your visibility by wearing bright clothing during the day and wearing reflective materials and always using a flashlight at night.
- Avoid walking under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as they impair your abilities and judgment.
- Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with them as they approach to make sure you are seen.
As a driver, you should follow these tips:
- Always look for pedestrians.
- Extra caution should be used when it is hard to see, such as at night or in bad weather.
- Slow down and be prepared to stop at intersections and crosswalks. Yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and stop well before to give other drivers the chance to see the people crossing.
- Never pass a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk—there may be pedestrians you cannot see.
- Follow all posted speed limits and traffic signs, especially in school zones, neighborhoods and where people are present on the street.
- Use extra caution when backing up.
- Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or be distracted by electronics.
The Bottom Line
It is important to use caution on the road—especially during busy months where more people are present—both in and out of vehicles.
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