Taking Steps for Pedestrian Safety

At some point or another, we’re all pedestrians and we all share the responsibility to make sure our roads are safe. Between the years 2000 and 2009, 1,638 people were killed as pedestrians in the state of North Carolina (t4america.org) with Raleigh-Durham ranking second out of all NC cities for pedestrian fatalities. A statewide campaign, Watch for Me NC, aims to raise awareness about pedestrian fatalities and pedestrian safety laws. Here are some of their tips to remember when you’re out walking, so you can stay safe.

  • Be careful when crossing – Pedestrians AND drivers must obey all traffic signals but be sure to look both ways before you cross and maintain eye contact with drivers to make sure they’re stopping for you.
  • Drivers must yield – When you’re driving, take extra care to look for pedestrians before crossing an intersection, making a turn, or when backing up in a parking lot. Remember, that drivers must always yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Be sure to use extra caution at marked crosswalks without signals. Pedestrians at unlighted cross walks have the right-of-way.
  • Obey the lights at intersections – All drivers must yield but pedestrians should only cross with a green light or a walk signal. If the light changes, a driver must allow pedestrians to finish crossing and if a driver has a green light and the pedestrian crosses against the light, the driver is required to give a warning with a beep of the horn.
  • Intersections without signals and mid-block crosswalks – At intersections without lights, pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks and at corners. Also, remember to yield to pedestrians at marked crosswalks without lights in mid-block.

For more information check out WatchforMeNC.org and keep an eye out for their articles and features in the local news. Triangle-area law enforcement agencies are focusing on this campaign in an effort to better enforce pedestrian safety laws. And, as always, remember to stay safe out there!

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