Citrus Heights Police Promote Safe Behaviors
September is Pedestrian Safety Month and the Citrus Heights Police Department is working with other law enforcement agencies across the Golden State to promote pedestrian safety. Throughout the month of September, the department will have more police officers on patrol to help reduce the risk of pedestrian injuries and deaths. Officers will focus on drivers and pedestrians who violate traffic laws such as speeding, failing to stop for signs, not yielding to pedestrians, and distracted driving or walking.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics in California
Advanced vehicle safety systems are making automobiles safer, but pedestrians continue to be just as vulnerable to accidents and injuries on the road. In California, people on foot now represent a higher percentage of total injuries and fatalities in traffic accidents than before. In 2016, as many as 867 pedestrians in California were killed and over 14,000 suffered injuries.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
A majority of pedestrian accidents occur because motorists fail to notice them walking along the road, crossing the street, or stepping into a crosswalk on the intersection. The most common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
- Speeding – A direct correlation exists between the severity of a pedestrian injury and the impact speed of the vehicle involved.
- Failure to Yield – Drivers in Citrus Heights are required to give pedestrians the right of way. Failure to do so can cause serious pedestrian injuries or death.
- Distracted Driving – A driver preoccupied with texting on a cell phone, lighting a cigarette, handling the music system, eating food, or talking to other occupants of the vehicle poses a grave danger to pedestrians.
- Driving Under the Influence – As many as one in six pedestrians are hit by a motorist who was driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or another intoxicating substance.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians
Here are some proven guidelines and tips that pedestrians can follow to keep themselves safe on the road:
- Make Eye Contact with the Driver – Whenever possible, try to establish eye contact with the driver, especially in a stopped car. This helps increase the drivers’ alertness and ensure that they notice you before you cross the road in front of them.
- Be Visible – Wear brightly colored clothes in the day time and reflective or lightly colored garments at night. Try to stay within a well-lit area, particularly when you are crossing the street.
- Avoid Distractions – Do not use your cell phone or handheld devices while you are walking on the road. Avoid using headphones because you need both eyes and ears to be alert to what might be happening around you.
- Choose Safe Places to Walk – When crossing the street, use the crosswalk where it is available or find a well-lit area to cross. Stay on the sidewalk as far as possible. When the sidewalk is unavailable, walk on the farthest side of the road to increase your visibility to approaching drivers. Do not walk along the highway or any type of road or street where pedestrians are prohibited.
- Follow the Traffic Rules – Follow the traffic signals and obey all the traffic rules as a pedestrian to increase your safety.
Tips for Drivers to Protect Pedestrians
Careful drivers can prevent pedestrian accidents in Citrus Heights. Here are a few useful tips for motorists:
- Stay Alert – When you are driving a vehicle, you have a greater responsibility towards pedestrian safety. Be vigilant and look out for pedestrians in areas where people on foot are expected. When pulling out of a driveway, be mindful of pedestrians, mainly if you are backing up.
- Follow the Speed Limits – Be extra conscious about following the speed limits in areas where pedestrian traffic is heavy. Neighborhood streets and school zones are some of the areas which have lower speed limits, and a pedestrian could suddenly appear in these areas.
- Exercise Caution in Low Visibility – When passing through a poorly lit area or facing inclement weather conditions, use extra caution because of the low visibility. It is not only harder for you to spot an oncoming pedestrian in these circumstances, but also challenging for a pedestrian to see your vehicle. Make proper use of lights and signals in these conditions.
- Be Mindful of the Nature of Crosswalks – You should always yield to a pedestrian when they are walking through a crosswalk. Reduce speed and get ready to stop when you are approaching a crosswalk unless you have a green light. But even if you have a green light, you need to make sure the crosswalk is free from pedestrian use before you drive through it. Make sure you stop your car before the first crosswalk line. This will allow other motorists to see the pedestrians for whom you have stopped for make for a more harmonious encounter. Don’t pass other cars that have stopped at a crosswalk. You don’t want to hit a pedestrian who is crossing the street and who have the right of way.
- Never Drive Under the Influence – Driving while intoxicated is dangerous for you and others on the road. Drugs or alcohol can significantly impair your decision-making skills, reflexes, and reaction time.
Watch YouTube Video: Back to School Safety. The Citrus Heights Police Department released the following video to help both drivers and pedestrians exercise safety while on the road.
Pedestrian Accident Lawyers in Citrus Heights
I’m Ed Smith, a pedestrian accident attorney in Citrus Heights. With school back in session, many kids will be on the road walking to and from school. If you or a loved one has been hurt by another vehicle while walking as a pedestrian, you may be able to claim damages from the at-fault party. Call me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice.
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