Spring is in full bloom across the country and the summer months are just around the corner. And with the warmer weather comes a huge influx of pedestrian traffic in cities and towns. Unfortunately, for professional limousine chauffeurs and drivers, the more pedestrians on the streets, the greater the risk of pedestrian accidents with their vehicles.
The Problem Grows
Pedestrian-vehicle crashes are a major problem in the United States. In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that there were approximately 4,092 pedestrians killed and another 70,000 injured when vehicles and pedestrians collided. The Center for Problem-Oriented Policing (POP) estimates that, on average, a pedestrian is killed in a traffic collision every 113 minutes and injured every eight minutes, and although only 8.6% of all trips are made on foot, 11.4% of all traffic deaths are pedestrians. The POP analysis also found that most pedestrian injuries occur between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., with a peak time between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Fatalities usually happen at night between 5:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. Most pedestrian-vehicle crashes take place on Friday and Saturday and the fewest happen on Sunday. However, during the vacation months, especially in crowded tourist areas, crashes happen frequently at any time in the 24-hour day and on any day in the week.
The Elderly Pedestrian
A recent article in the Los Angeles Times described the dangers that slower-moving elderly people are facing as they walk through a crosswalk along New York City’s wider but busy streets. Statistics show that more than a dozen elderly citizens have been killed in just one fashionable upper westside 10-block area of Manhattan in the last 10 years. That would equate to hundreds of elderly pedestrians perishing in crosswalks across the City that they simply cannot cross in time to evade traffic. Arguably, stoplight signals that don’t seem to be allowing enough time for an elderly person to cross safely add to the problem as well. In vacation areas, towns and rural areas, sidewalks may be in poor condition or there may not be any sidewalks for people to use, and the rough non-sidewalk surface can be especially difficult for an elderly person to navigate.
Other Dangers With Pedestrians Present
Especially during the summer season with so many compact crowded areas, vacationing pedestrians use the roads as if they were extensions of the sidewalks and they may not pay proper attention to following and oncoming traffic. Very often, pedestrians will ignore the traffic walk/don’t walk signals just because the rest of the crowd is moving without regard for safety. Children are especially at risk because they tend to make sudden movements without watching where they are headed. They can also be difficult to see because of their size.
What Can You Do?
Professional limousine drivers know that reducing speed will help safe driving in many ways. Generally, pedestrians do have the right-of-way at intersections and will take it, even if safety tells them they need to wait things out. You need to stay on your guard and slowing down will help avoid unexpected and careless pedestrian behavior. Don’t block a crosswalk with your limousine when stopped at a red light because it puts pedestrians around you in danger. Don’t use your horn or try other ways to get pedestrians out of your way. Take your time and wait until pedestrians are clear of your vehicle before moving.