Monthly Archives: March 2015

Pedestrian Safety Tips

Every day in the United States, an estimated 445 pedestrians seek emergency treatment for traffic-related injuries. In 2013, the most recent year data is available, there were 4,735 pedestrian fatalities and another 66,000 injuries. That’s about one pedestrian death every two hours, and one injury every eight minutes. If you are one of the tens of thousands of pedestrians injured every year as a result of a vehicle-related accident, there are critical steps you should take directly after the event that will help ensure your rights. But, avoiding an accident in the first place should be your focus. Here are some easy-to-follow tips on how to stay safe as a pedestrian.

Never Assume

Just because someone is driving a vehicle doesn’t mean he is paying close attention to the road. Distracted driving habits, including eating and cell phone use, lead to more than 3,300 fatalities a year, many of which involve pedestrians. Other factors, including vehicle blind spots and driver drowsiness, can also play a role in pedestrian-related accidents.

Instead of assuming that a driver can see you, make sure the road is clear before attempting to cross the street. If you’re in a particularly busy area, and waiting for traffic to clear isn’t plausible, make eye contact with any driver in your proximity before crossing the street, even when you have the right of way and are using a crosswalk.

Distracted Walking

Drivers are not the only people who can be distracted when they’re on the go. Pedestrians can be just as easily distracted. When you’re reading a text message, playing a game, or are otherwise engaged with your mobile device, you aren’t paying attention to your surroundings, and just as with a distracted driver, the results can be disastrous. When you are walking, put away your cell phone or tablet. If you must reply to a text, step to the side, out of the way of others, and then respond.

Follow the Law

Jaywalking is not only illegal, but it can be fatal. In fact, pedestrian noncompliance is the leading cause of injuries and fatalities. In 2013, 69% of all pedestrian fatalities occurred at non-intersections compared to 20% of fatalities occurring in an intersection, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The balance of the fatalities occurred in parking lanes, driveways, roadsides, and other locations. When you need to cross the street, use the crosswalk, and never cross against the light.

Special Circumstances

The sidewalk is the safest place for pedestrians. Occasionally, however, you may find yourself in a situation where you have to walk somewhere, but no sidewalk is available. In that instance, walk as far onto the shoulder of the road as possible, and always walk facing traffic. If your back is to traffic, you won’t be able to see oncoming dangers, and you’ll be unable to avoid them.

If you’re walking at night, it is imperative that you wear light, bright, or reflective clothing, and carry a flashlight, even if you plan on staying on the sidewalk. At some point, you may have to cross the street, and if drivers cannot see you, they won’t be able to avoid you.

Pedestrian safety requires vigilance on the part of both the driver and the pedestrian. When you head out for a walk, always follow traffic laws, make sure drivers can see you, and pay attention to your surroundings. When you follow those simple tips, you’ll be increasing the odds that you will reach your destination safely.

Take Care to Avoid Slip-and-Fall Accidents on Your Property

When it comes to slip-and-fall accidents, as a business owner, strong preventative measures are the key. You never want to see a customer have an accident due to carelessness and oversight on your part, so consider taking these steps beforehand to making your property the safest it can be for customers and employees alike.

Basically, your property needs to be safe for a “reasonable person,” that is, someone who is taking normal care to avoid danger, and is avoiding obvious obstacles. You as a business owner need to rid the property of any hidden or obvious dangers that could result in a slip and fall. The best thing you can do it to train all employees, especially managers, to be vigilant and to deal with these issues immediately. We’ll walk you through some tips address common causes of slip-and-fall injuries, and what you can do to prevent them.

Tips to Making Your Business Safer

  • First, consider seasonal hazards. One of the most common times for slip-and-fall injuries is, of course, the winter, when ice and snow make pathways hazardous. So, keep all sidewalks, driveways, ramps and staircases free of slippery ice and snow. In the fall, keep these areas free of fallen leaves, which can be surprisingly slippery as well. Remember that outside areas, if they are on your property, are just as much your responsibility to keep safe as the interior areas are.
  • Make sure there is no uneven flooring. A normal person isn’t looking down everywhere he or she walks, so if there is an uneven walking surface, broken tiles or other problems, he or she could easily trip and fall.
  • If anything gets spilled, put up a warning sign, and clean it up quickly. This is very common in restaurants, where even a flying toddler’s drink can create a slippery hazard. It may also come in car-repair businesses, where grease puddles can be especially treacherous. More generally, this can also be a seasonal issue, as wet boots and umbrellas can create hard-to-see puddles.
  • Keep your property free of clutter. Without realizing, it, employees can often place materials in passageways or, even worse, in stairwells—so train them to keep these areas clear. Not only will this make the property more appealing and easy to navigate, but it will also prevent visitors from bumping into stray boxes or other items and hurting themselves, or falling down stairs. Also make sure that nothing is obstructing an exit pathway.
  • Put up warning signs beside any elevated surfaces. It may be common sense to be careful on a platform or a ladder, but remember that, as the owner, you’re used to them, whereas new visitors are not; it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • Invest in good lighting. It may sound silly, but a dark environment is much more prone to accidents, especially for older people. Besides, better lighting will improve visitors’ overall experience at your business, so it’s well worth your while. Once again, this includes exterior as well as interior lighting.

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