Walk This Way

Pedestrian Safety

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2014 a pedestrian was killed every 2 hours and injured every 8 minutes on average in U.S. traffic crashes.

While the number of total traffic fatalities has decreased over the last 10 years, the percentage of pedestrian traffic fatalities has increased.  In 2005, Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) reported 43,510 total traffic fatalities, 11% (4,892) of which were pedestrian fatalities.  In 2014, FARS reported 32,675 total traffic fatalities, 15% (4,884) of which were pedestrian deaths.

The rise in percentage of pedestrian deaths may be partly due to improvements to vehicle occupant protection and safety features.  While safer vehicles improve a passenger’s survival rate in a crash, a pedestrian still has no defense if struck by a vehicle.

Another pedestrian safety concern: distracted walking.  A Pew Research Center survey found that 53% of adult cellphone owners either had bumped into a person/object while using their phone or had been bumped into by another person distracted by their cellphone.  Distracted walking on or near a roadway can spell disaster.

Important Safety Reminders for Pedestrians:

  • Walk on a sidewalk or path when one is available.
  • If no sidewalk or path is available, walk on the shoulder, facing traffic. Stay alert; don’t be distracted by electronic devices, including smart phones, MP3 players, and other devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
  • Be cautious night and day when sharing the road with vehicles. Never assume a driver sees you (he or she could be distracted, under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, or just not see you). Make eye contact with drivers as they approach.
  • Be predictable. Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections when possible. This is where drivers expect pedestrians.
  • If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area, wait for a gap in traffic that allows you enough time to cross safely, and continue to watch for traffic as you cross.
  • Be visible. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flash light at night.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking; they impair your judgment and coordination.

Source: NHTSA’s Safety Countermeasures Division

Penny for Your Peace of Mind?

The Penny Test

Tire tread is important. Worn tires can’t grip the road properly leading to slips and skids. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to check your tire tread depth and all you need is a penny!

Here’s what you do: Place a penny into a tread groove on your tires with Lincoln’s head pointed down. A newer penny where Lincoln’s head isn’t worn will work best. If part of his head is covered by the tire tread, you’re good to go. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, then it’s time to replace the tire. Repeat the test in multiple grooves and on each tire to check for uneven wear.

So there you have it, a simple way to keep an eye on the health of your tires.

To-and-Fro: Stay Safe as You Go

School Bus Passenger Tips

School is starting all across the country. Now is a good time to teach, or remind, your little ones about school bus safety.

  1. When waiting at the bus stop, stay on the sidewalk, away from the road. Pay attention to what is going on around you. Don’t get distracted by playing with your friends.
  2. When getting on the bus, find a seat promptly and sit down facing the front of the bus. Sit still and talk quietly with your neighbor. Don’t distract the bus driver with a lot of ruckus. Let them do their job safely driving you to school.
  3. When exiting the bus, be aware of passing cars. Put distance between you and the bus so the bus driver will be able to see you. Stay away from the wheels of the bus and remember to cross in front of the bus, not behind it.

Driving with Diligence

Collision Prevention

hands on steering wheelsRoad safety starts with you, the driver. Here are a few defensive driving pointers to help you stay safe and sound while on the go.

Scan the road ahead looking for possible hazards so you have time to react to them. Also, regularly check your mirrors so you know at all times what potential obstacles surround your vehicle.  If your view is blocked by a hill or a curve proceed with caution.

Keep a space cushion of 3-seconds between you and the vehicle you are following. Sometimes you may need to add additional space, such as when following large trucks or motorcycles, and when the weather and/or road conditions are less than ideal. Also, keep a space cushion to the side and rear of your vehicle so that you have room to maneuver should an obstacle present itself.

Follow the basic speed law; don’t drive faster than the conditions of the road and weather allow. This may mean you need to drive slower than the posted speed limit. You must decide what the safest speed is under the current conditions.

Being a responsible driver includes being fully aware of all traffic laws, right-of-way rules, and street signs.  Many drivers make poor driving decisions because they don’t know the law.

Avoid distractions. A distraction can be anything that takes your mind off of the task of driving, whether it’s a cell phone, the radio, passengers, even food. Driving has to be the number one priority every time you are behind the wheel.

Last, but not least, don’t drive under the influence, whether it is alcohol or prescription drugs from your doctor. Even a small amount of drugs or alcohol can affect depth perception, speed perception, coordination, reaction time and vision, all of which are essential to driving.

Buckle-Up Back There

No time to read a long-winded BLOnG? Welcome to the Three-Second-Stop mini-Blog.

Today’s Three Seconds: Seat Belts All Around

backseat23 Second StopYou may be surprised to know that riding in the back seat of a vehicle without a seat belt is dangerous. In fact any unbelted person not only endangers themselves, but greatly increases the risk of death and injury to other vehicle occupants. Currently not every state in the US has laws requiring use of backseat restraints; don’t let this stop you from strapping in next time you ride in the back.

Super Safety Tips for a Super Super Bowl Sunday

What’s your game plan?

super_bowl_2014

Super Bowl Sunday is right around the corner … do you have a game plan?  As Denver and Seattle go head to head, don’t forget to use yours!  Whether you are having friends over or you’re watching the game at a friend’s house or sports bar, there are safety precautions you can take to make sure everyone “arrives alive” when they go home.

If you are having friends over, here are simple tips to be a responsible host:

  • Before the game even starts, check that everyone has a designated sober driver to get home
  • Provide protein-rich foods like meats and cheeses or finger sandwiches; salty snacks tend to make people want to drink more
  • There should ALWAYS be non-alcoholic beverages available
  • Stop serving alcoholic beverages between the 3rd and 4th quarter (just like NFL stadiums!)

If you are spending game day at a friend’s place, a bar, or a restaurant, these tips should be part of your Game Day Game Plan:

  • Have a designated sober driver before you leave home (or be one yourself)
  • Be mindful of drinking on an empty stomach and eat foods high in protein
  • Pace yourself!  Take breaks and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks
  • Be a true friend by keeping an eye on your friends and make sure no one drives if they’re intoxicated

No matter who you’re cheering for, following these safety tips are a game day WIN!